In the press

Tiananmen Square, 31 years later: What legacy awaits Hong Kong?


IN THE PAPERS - Thursday, June 4: We bring you Chinese reactions after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson offered to welcome millions of Hong Kong residents in the wake of China's approval of a national security law that could extend Beijing's authority over Hong Kong. Also, official vigils for the 31st anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre are banned by Chinese authorities for "health reasons".


This Thursday marks 31 years since the Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing. For the first time since 1990, there will be no official vigil in Hong Kong. Chinese authorities have banned all commemoration ceremonies under the pretext of coronavirus. For pro-democracy protesters, it's seen as yet another attempt by Beijing to suppress free speech. As The New York Times notes, this year it comes under the looming threat of the national security law approved last week, which would widen China's authority over Hong Kong. 

In the wake of that law, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has offered to welcome millions of Hong Kong residents and this hasn't gone down too well with Beijing, as the Hong Kong Free Press notes. Chinese authorities have rebuked Johnson’s offer and advised the UK to "abandon its cold war mentality and colonial mindset". 

The irony of the UK's offer of migration to millions of Hong Kong residents after it spent years trying to fight EU migration with the Brexit deal is not lost on the Guardian today. The paper says Johnson's offer of a UK safe haven and confronting China is a "big gamble", the extent of which is unclear. These accusations of hypocrisy are echoed by Peter Brookes, the cartoonist at the Times of London. 

Let's end on his illustration which sees Boris Johnson standing up to Xi Jinping on Hong Kong, but bowing down to him, or rather, licking his feet when it comes to Chinese tech giant Huawei. Johnson initially backed Huawei to build infrastructure needed to roll out 5G networks in the UK. He's since reneged after pressure from lawmakers.

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