In the current Occupy Central Movement, certain aged pan-democrats, troubled by the Tiananmen Square Massacre, have called upon Hongkongers to retreat from the occupied districts, causing indignation among the younger generation, highlighting the generation gap of historical consciousness.
History is to be remembered but not consumed and abused.
The pan-democrats use the Tiananmen Square tragedy as their Caliburn. For years, they have repeatedly consumed and withdrawn this historical event, fishing for votes and attacking their enemies. Ironically, the pan-democrats themselves have never well reflected upon the tragedy and healed its resulting trauma. Instead, they have caused this nightmare to severely interfere with the subsequent development of Hong Kong.
The reason why the annual candlelight vigilin the Victoria Park to commemorate the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown is detestable is because the organizer always spreads a kind of sentimentality by way of images of tanks marching into the Tiananmen Square, wearing down the resistant will of many a Hongkonger. Step by step, people have come to believe in fatalism and cynicism, fancying that China will turn democratic overnight.
In the Occupy Central Movement, it has exactly been those pan-democrats who again and again repeat the June Fourth incantation, attempting to persuade the protesters to beat a retreat and surrender to the police. They look exactly like a group of lackeys who not only disintegrate themselves but also sacrifice all the demonstrators. The reason why I object to Occupy Central is exactly that the nature of “those in charge” is hypocritical, that they will betray the only remaining morale of the people. (Thanks Heavens, the persistence of Hong Kong citizens has shown Hongkongers in general to be smarter than I thought.) One massacre and thirty years’ peace have turned many former fighters into accomplices in stabilization.
Deep down their heart, the pan-democrats are very worried about offending the authorities. They take care not to overdo everything and worst still, some of them covertly co-operate with the government. Back in 2003, when Tung Chee-hwa, the then chief executive of Hong Kong, became the object of widespread anger and discontent, they dared not overthrow him. In this year’s civil disobedience, they have again warned Hongkongers that the People’s Liberation Army will repeat the Tiananmen Square Massacre in Hong Kong, while the real situation is by no means so bad. Without any good reason, they withdraw from advancing, which is equal to stabbing the people in the back and accomplishing the magnificent act of stabilization in an absurd way. How can Hong Kong people trust them?!
From a comprehensive perspective, the role played by the pan-democrats in Occupy Central is a problem maker. Each and every time when they come on the stage, nothing good will happen. Dancing with the pan-democrats is a suicidal act. Hong Kong no longer needs pan-democrats or voices displaying weakness. If they want to turn themselves in to the police, it is their own business.
The Tiananmen Square Massacre has destroyed an entire generation of Hongkongers and wasted decades of youth on the part of Hong Kong.
Unlike the Sunflower Movement in Taiwan, Occupy Central is a bitter war between generations. The young generation beat the old generation in the streets and force them to hand over the commander’s seal. The transition is not smooth and honorable at all.
The famous columnist, Mr. Chip Tsao, often mock Hongkongers for their ignorance about history. In the current revolution, exactly because the young people do not know history so well, the life of the movement is prolonged. Young Hongkongers, having not gone through the 1989 massive demonstration against the massacre, lack the empathy of the older generation, let alone any related trauma, except the totem of “June Fourth Massacre = tanks”. The younger generation is imprudent but without historical burden, ignorant but valorous.
Undoubtedly the turning point in history of Modern China, the Tiananmen Square Massacre needs to be taken to heart. However, unlike the older generation, the younger generation knows better in that they will not let the tragedy haunt them for life. There is no point in attending the annual candlelight vigil in the Victoria Park. Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution and Taiwan’s Sunflower Movement signify the rise of the new generation.
The historical importance of The Tiananmen Square in China and the Wild Lily Movement in Taiwan is gradually fading out. Hong Kong should release herself from the June Fourth tragedy. The trajectory of history changes with the players. The line of thought of the Tiananmen Square Massacre is not an eternal truth. What the young people of Hong Kong need is the courage to stride over melancholy and fright, to create conditions for victory, and to get out of the historical cycle. What good will it do to pursue defeatism like the pan-democrats and ignite the candles in the Victoria Park every year?