‘At the forefront of anti-totalitarianism: From June 4, 1989 to the anti-extradition movement’
(20 May 2020) The June 4th Museum was closed during the height of the COVID-19 epidemic to prepare for the new exhibition, ‘At the forefront of anti-totalitarianism: From June 4, 1989 to the anti-extradition movement’. The Museum officially opened on May 20 with a new design.
Thirty-one years ago on May 20, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) declared martial law, and the army entered the city to suppress the 1989 democracy movement. Typhoon No. 8 was hoisted in Hong Kong, yet more than 40,000 people bravely took to the streets to support Beijing students.
In 1989, Hong Kong people wholeheartedly supported the democracy movement in Beijing. After the 1997 handover, CCP totalitarianism extended to Hong Kong. Hong Kong people have repeatedly pushed back: in the march against Article 23 ‘national security’ legislation in 2003, the campaign against the introduction of a new ‘national education’ subject in schools in 2012, the Umbrella Movement in 2014, and... In the summer of 2019, the fight for freedom from tyranny began with opposition to plans to amend local laws to legalize extradition of people from Hong Kong to China. Against the same totalitarianism, the 1989 democracy movement and the 2019 anti-extradition movement faced very similar political repression, indiscriminate violence, a refusal to engage in dialogue, defamation, purges, and a refusal to conduct an independent investigation of the truth. The participants in the two movements also displayed similar ideals, made similar sacrifices, and showed similar courage.
The CCP has been trying to erase people’s memory of the truth about the June 4 Tiananmen Massacre and has extended such efforts to suppress democracy and human rights in Hong Kong through propaganda and repression by force. At this moment, the June 4 Museum has an even greater responsibility to protect the truth, to preserve the evidence of the CCP's massacre, to assist the society in learning from fact-based history, and to defend the universal values of democracy, freedom, and human rights. Therefore, we have put on this new exhibition on these two vast movements, June 4 and anti-extradition, and hope to learn from comparing and contrasting the two, to make contributions to the yet-to-be-vindicated June 4 in China and the on-going struggle of the anti-extradition movement in Hong Kong.
Features of the new exhibition at the June 4th Museum
1. The exhibition includes sections on the background, chronology, methods, campaign materials, and stories of participants in the two movements. Many people have compared June 4 and the anti-extradition movement. The heated battles of the anti-extradition movement have been called ‘June 4 2.0’ or the ‘Hong Kong version of June 4’. This is the first relatively comprehensive and detailed exhibition that compares the two.
2. An area for photo-taking: Designed by Zunzi, the famous Hong Kong political cartoonist, the area reproduces scenes, participants and slogans from June 4 and the anti-extradition movement, juxtaposing the statues of the Goddess of Democracy in Beijing and Lady Liberty in Hong Kong. Although the movements took place 30 years apart, the spirit of fighting for democracy and resisting authoritarianism is the same. Visitors can take photos and show solidarity with the movements for democracy and human rights.
3. Masks of Pepe and the LIHKG Pig: Fiberglass masks made by Singjai based on the resistance icons and events of the anti-extradition movement encourage visitors to learn about the resistance stories of Hong Kong people.
4. A reading corner: Visitors can read books, magazines, newspapers and leaflets related to June 4 and the anti-extradition movement, as well as declassified files from the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada related to June 4.
5. A video area showing videos about June 4 and the anti-extradition movement
6. A gifts corner where books and souvenirs related to June 4 and the anti-extradition movement can be purchased
The exhibition is made possible due to assistance from different parties and volunteers of Hong Kong Alliance, for which we are deeply grateful.
Finally, we call on all sectors of society to donate and support the June 4 Museum. The museum has faced constant political pressure. Due to the difficulties posed in renting a venue, our ultimate goal is to purchase the space where the museum is housed. We rely on donations from the public to run the June 4 Museum, so that we can, in the long term, resist the lies of the CCP.