US marks ‘brave’ Tiananmen protesters, 33 years on from Beijing’s crackdown

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday paid tribute to the pro-democracy student protesters crushed by Chinese forces in Tiananmen Square 33 years ago, saying that “these brave individuals will not be forgotten.”

The statement by the top US diplomat came after police in Hong Kong on Friday closed parts of the park where annual candlelit vigils were held to commemorate victims of the 1989 clampdown, when soldiers brutally quashed peaceful demonstrations in Beijing demanding political and economic reform.

People hold candles during a vigil to mark the 33rd anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre at the Victims of Communism Memorial in Washington, DC, on June 3, 2022. Photo: Nicholas Kamm / AFP.

“Today, the struggle for democracy and freedom continues to echo in Hong Kong, where the annual vigil to commemorate the massacre in Tiananmen Square was banned by the PRC and Hong Kong authorities in an attempt to suppress the memories of that day,” Blinken said in a statement, using the acronym for the People’s Republic of China.

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