The world’s first museum commemorating China’s deadly crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square has opened in Hong Kong.
In June it will be 25 years since troops opened fire and tanks were sent in to crush the student-led movement in Beijing. Hundreds died.
“Here I am learning about the student’s day to day plight,” said visitor Kitty Kao, a beautician
who grew up in southern China’s Shenzhen city but has lived in Hong Kong for 12 years.
“Back then, we did not know about it. We just knew they were making a scene and we thought it was not appropriate. But now I know this was not true. The truth is that the students were fighting for democracy and freedom.”
Outside however a group of pro-China demonstrators denounced the museum’s version of events. They believe authorities were right to put down the protests and say Chinese soldiers were also killed in the clashes.
Protester and salesman, Chiu Tze-lung, 62, claims the US and the museum’s main organiser, the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, sent supplies to the mainland in 1989, enabling what he called “the riots” to drag on for a long time and spread to the whole country.
“If central government had not stopped the chaos, today’s China would not exist,” he said.
Unlike in mainland China where the crackdown remains a taboo subject, discussion is open in Hong Kong, an ex-British colony under Chinese rule since 1997.
Nonetheless, fellow occupants of the building where the museum is housed tried to stop it opening in what critics claim was a politically- motivated move.