Or, Pourquoi Tant De Haine?

by Wayne Yeung

語言:
English
Photo Credit: RFA

“Maybe it’s all just a misunderstanding. For what reason can’t the People forget. Forgetting can mean forgiving and conciliation. It can mean relearning.”

—Wong Bik-wan (黃碧雲) [1]

“History, Stephen said, is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.”

—James Joyce [2]

ONE COULD NOT say without sounding naïve that the current backlash against the June 4th Vigil in Victoria Park, annually organized by Hong Kong Alliance In Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China (支聯會 or, “HKA”), has caught anyone by surprise. Localism has become a regular political fixture with its own supporter base which only has strengthened after the Umbrella Movement, and from this section of the political spectrum, one can only expect hostility against the “grand stage” of the HKA. Since the Hong Kong Federation of Students (HKFS) withdrew participation in the Victoria Park vigil in 2015, the students’ loss of patience with the HKA’s slogans of patriotism and national democracy is on the rise as a source of conflict. What truly surprises is, rather disappointingly, the unsightliness of the fateful parting of the ways, when a student publication organ member, apparently goaded by Wan Chin, used a so-called “literarily controversial” analogy comparing the role of HKA to “pimps and pimpstresses”. [3] (A personal problem compels me to object that this really has nothing to do with literature, controversial or not.)

While their ignorance of the Confucian wisdom that advises against speaking ill of adversaries as gentlemen go separate ways is quite appalling, this problem of politeness is ultimately rather unimportant except in showing us that the present debate gives out more heat than light. But if one is to look past the absence of taste in the verbal brawl, another absence becomes glaringly visible: that of the thinking on positioning this chapter of national history of contestation movements—which has always acted as the clearest sign that the party-state, having to resort to violence, had not achieved total assimilation of the nation—within the discourse of an independent local identity, whose separation from “Chineseness” presupposes the non-distinction of the population from the regime. For a while, the Hong Kong Nation discourse (香港民族論) has been trying to convince the population that their political destiny need not be bound up with that of the mainland China and that Hong Kong people should just tend to their own business. [4] But June 4th still represents for many a historical link which, pan-national as it inevitably is, cannot be severed without many Hongkongers feeling a loss in their identity. Meanwhile, the much discredited Democratic Retrocession discourse (民主回歸論) of which HKA comprises a part, holds that nationalism and democracy are indissociable, as they were during the 1989 Civil Movement (in which, they stress, Hong Kong played a role as well)— and will continue to be so, given the importance of political interactions between Hong Kong and China. The problem arises when the contemporary political understanding no longer sees this linkage as a logically necessary one.

PhotoCreditGettyImagesPhoto credit: Getty Images

It looks as if the present controversy breaks out exactly to cover up the fact that neither side is willing to engage in such intellectual endeavors; all that matters is to inculpate the other for a crime of which they themselves would wipe their slate clean. HKA and its supporters chide the student organization leaders for making light of a humanitarian atrocity and the collective necessity to mourn, based on little other than a sentence taken out of context aired over the radio; the student organization leaders, in return, accuse HKA of ritualistic formalism, taking credit from the massacre for their own political gain, and being too cozy with a regime they were supposed to oppose, all being charges which simply rehash the old feud with the traditional pan-democrats. [5]

The kind of questioning demanded by the current situation seems to be thus: in the context of Hong Kong where nationalist and post-nationalist mentalities are so inextricably intertwined, how would democratic governance be envisaged? And, how are we to map ourselves within the global, national and local history of civil disobedience, of which the 1989 civil movement is indelibly a chapter (which, let’s remind ourselves, happened before the term became fashionable in our language)?

Benedict Anderson as Critic of (Localist) Nationalism

BEFORE WE BEGIN, it is useful to maintain that the “localists” concerned here are different from the usual faces borne by the movement’s far seer and royal families—in a curious development, the student organization leaders more influenced by the academic culture are featured more prominently in the current debate (by comparison, the vigil held by Civic Passion reportedly drew only a few hundred attendants). In addition, their discourse on a Hong Kong nation is justified by its autonomous modern cultural history rather than a distinct ancient ethnic root; having much more to learn from Benedict Anderson than from Herder, this shade of localist opinion legitimizes the putative nationality of Hong Kong by placing the wager on its popular culture, whose golden age coincided with the city’s development of media consumerism (to echo with Anderson’s idea of print-capitalism) and the rise of its middle class. [6]

Anderson’s theory is attractive mainly for its constructivist suggestion that the “nation” is the result of “imagination”, which these localists interpret as a collective “will” determining itself as a free-standing community (a rebuttal of the argument that Hong Kong cannot be a nation given all the “facts”), highlighting the importance of “identification” in the formation of national identity (to refute the claim that Hong Kong localism falls into ethnic nationalism). Anderson’s emphasis on the creole, anti-colonial origins of nationalisms would also be welcomed by the localist intelligentsia who see in there a connection with Hong Kong. [7] But Anderson’s theoretical treatise does not contain any magical formula to “imagine” a nation from scratch, nor is it meant to provide the yardstick to judge whether a community is national or not (in fact he claims that any community larger than “villages of face-to-face contact” is imagined, so it is not possible to deduce that a community is a nation because we can imagine it to be so). [8] Furthermore, Anderson’s criticism of the abstract internationalism in Marxist and liberal theories, which makes them unable to account for nationalism, is ironically counterbalanced by his genealogical theory that the nation is a fiction which, once born, has to be constantly reinvented, by national institutions and in national acts of remembrance and oblivion—this is certainly not an invitation for its readers to “construct” a nation with all sincerity.

Book coverBook cover of Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities

In reality, Anderson, whose intimate understanding of the inner workings of nationhood is profoundly shaped by the anti-colonial-turned-official nationalist intelligentsia from the Javanese/Indonesian experience, may serve in be in the best capacity as a critic of Hong Kong localists on the topic of June 4th vigil after all. In the chapter “Memory and Forgetting” of Imagined Communities, Anderson theorizes—with an eye towards the 1965 Indonesian killings—on how the nation must recruit memory and forgetting into its service, understand anonymous deaths as sacrifices, and refashion civil wars as fratricidal strife. In this perspective, it is not coincidental that June 4th Massacre becomes the battleground of the current debate on local and national identity claims—in Anderson’s own words, the problem arises when there are competing claims about whether “these violent deaths must be remembered/forgotten as “our own”. [9] In Anderson’s eyes, then, the controversy surrounding the remembrance of June 4th is merely exchanging a biased version of history with another.

Through the Canals of June 4th Historiography

HKA’S NARRATIVE of the June 4th incident has relied on the formula that nationalism and democracy are common causes—that the demos in democracy is composed of the nationals, which is the intuitive understanding of the 19th century intelligentsia over which consensus in China has been cemented since the May Fourth Movement. (Curiously, the protesters on the Tiananmen Square, who were actually protesting against bureaucratic corruption and for liberalization of various social sectors, rarely, if at all, presented themselves as “patriotic”.) [10] This intuition must have worked better in colonial Hong Kong where power was in the hold of British colonial government, and also plays into the logic of the Democratic Retrocession discourse according in which only native rule enables democracy.

What escapes their attention is that the connection that HKA takes for granted between democracy and national sovereignty has already been challenged in many places of the world in the last several decades. As Hong Kong’s consciousness of its own individuality develops in reaction to globalization and, more importantly, as the boomerang effect of the current experiment of the centralized Chinese nation-state (whose ideological counterpart is the ultra-nationalist propaganda) [11], Hong Kong joins—if belatedly—in the group of “ethnic” nations in Europe such as Welsh, Breton, Scots and Catalan, which turned to separatism in protest against their central governments in the second half of the 20th century, long after their successful assimilation into the nation already had a history as long as the worldwide dominance of the nation-state itself. [12] The localists turn the Democratic Retrocession logic on its head: Nationalism equals Democracythe Nation does not support democracy now—the Nation has forsaken Us. Ergo, We should form a new Nation. [13] Benedict Anderson’s theory on the artifice of nationality is actually more useful to understand this development, as the “imaginedness” of the nation becomes politically useful for those in the border to attack the power-grabbing center, to use the self-evidence of ethnic identity to rub against the artifice of national identification.

PhotoCreditSouthChinaMorningPostPhoto credit: SCMP

The situation is more complicated on the side of the localists, because while the June 4th Massacre focalizes anti-CCP sentiments which could be useful for their political purposes, the Hong Kong Nation demands a separate historiography where there is no place to inscribe the event without alerting people to the new nation’s link with what it ought to separate from. The more extreme version (arguably the only one the localists’ logic would lead to) would have it that Hong Kong people simply have no ethical obligation to commemorate the death of “certain Chinese students”, a call which jams the moral compass of many Hong Kong people regardless of identification. [14] But milder versions of localism, even those who believe that one can commemorate it as a “world citizen” [15], raise more questions than they answer—why, as a world citizen, do you not also commemorate the Rwandan Tutsi genocide or the Gwangju Uprising then? [16] It is difficult from the viewpoint of the parochialism of local identity to see the relevance of the high-strung cosmopolitanism behind the concept of world citizen.

This reflects a problem inherent in the localist discourse itself, which maintains the identity between the party, state and nation, as it is confronted by a collective trauma which is indelibly pan-national in nature, but never assimilated in the official history of the party-state. If one is to reassure oneself, as the former HKUSU chairman apparently does [17], that Hong Kong people have already had their own history of struggle after the Umbrella Movement and so June 4th is just a section of some note, then it is hardly comprehensible why one should go on using June 4th as the occasion for assembly—why don’t you come to discuss the fate of Hong Kong on just any other day as well (or on 28 September, if it must be an anniversary of something)? [18] The issue remains that June 4th is so imbued with collective meaning in Hong Kong community that there are still moral high grounds and political interests around it—even if just the date—but the localists are unable to articulate a theory which appropriates the event safely into their mode of identification. The subsequent lambasting of HKA’s ineffectiveness can thus be seen as escapism from one’s problem. (Lu Xun’s aphorism on the “tu quoque” logic so endeared to “Chineseness” applies to Hong Kong as well.)

Civic Nationalism and its Discontents

ONE CANNOT WATCH the controversy without sensing the irony behind all this: the side accused of being bogged down by the baggage of history turns out to be more oblivious of it, while the side claiming to be free from the said baggage should feel its weight sink on their shoulders even harder. In this sense, the charge of ritualism can also be seen in the same light—in a way strikingly similar to the Protestant Reformation, the reproach of ritualism by the “universalist” HKA, harping on how the June 4th vigil is routinized into empty conformity and pretense (which is to a certain extent true), immediately makes it obvious that the attempts on the “anti-ritualist” side to “reinvigorate” the ritual with parochial meanings look unimpressively familiar—there is a public forum somewhat like the Occupy Central deliberations so long discredited by people very close to this group of localists, an assemblage which dissipates just as peacefully (or as ritualistically, one is tempted to say) as the Victoria Park vigil. [19] And of course there is no slogan on Building a Democratic China (but really, did Hong Kong people do so much for Chinese democracy that it is, like, enough to distract us from anything?), only criticisms of “certain profiteering politicians and political party leaders”, in the Protestant fashion of faulting the clergy with corruption and selfishness and the orthodoxy with emptiness. All these are well-trodden paths already known to be headless.

PhotoCreditSCMPPhoto credit: SCMP

But perhaps the irony is more situated in the fact that the sentimental education behind HKA’s annual vigil is actually responsible for the backlash it receives now. [20] And this, not only in the nationalistic sentiments it stokes among the attendants—which returns in the equally nationalistic form of a Hong Kong identification to spite it—but also the choice of the subject of remembrance, which is not that of a specific event and movement, but the victims it claimed and the culprits it incriminates. The June 4th vigil calls for solidarity around blood ties (literally, ties sealed by blood) and heroic martyrdom, not for its meaning within a people’s history of political struggles and contestations—these deaths demonstrate, with their flesh and blood, what “civil disobedience” means. (And to think of the fact that the fear of a putative tank crackdown on the Umbrella Movement was so widely circulated back in 2014, it is clear that the experiences of the 1989 Civil Movement and the June 4th have illuminated our present struggles, much more than the Rwandan genocide or the Gwangju Uprising. These “Chinese students”, however unrelated to us by blood, are our teachers.) [21] The inconvenient truth remains that no victims can be venerated by the localist movement yet which would ensure the “moral power” so coveted by all sides; hence the ban on commemorating the anniversary of Umbrella Movement, which—despite all talks about its being the genesis of localist consciousness—failed to produce a martyr.

The national principle is so stubbornly clung to by all sides of the debate because the nation, as a unifying principle so tied to stories of martyrdom and heroism, massacres and genocides, is emotionally powerful—such that one can escape from a responsible discussion on political settlements and actions. [22] Reading these appropriations of Anderson’s theory, one gets the impression is that these young theorists are trying, fairly or not, to redirect the “ethnic” tendencies in conversations about nationalism to a “civic” one in the context of Hong Kong. [23] Whether these two tendencies working in localism currently will eventually part company is a matter of speculation. But civic nationalism produces its own problems even in the perspective of the localist worldview, in which political boundary and demarcation are of importance than institutional building and spontaneity. [24] If identification with certain values (typically in the liberal tradition) makes up the core of a supposed Hong Kong nationality, then there is nothing particular about it, and cannot appeal to any political tradition or culture which is won through struggle and safely “ours”. [25] If acculturation is sanctified as the criterion for membership in Hong Kong community, then civic nationalism is indistinguishable from “cultural nationalism”, whose tendency to ignore the intricacies in cultural assimilation makes it disturbingly close to ethnic nationalism. [26] Defining a Hong Kong identity merely through protest or anti-government sentiments, then you have a reference point which is defined entirely as the opposite side of the regime and cannot be self-determining or even sovereign. [27] These ready-made definitions of a Hong Kong identity all point to the difficulty of defining just this identity clearly enough for any political purpose.

Concluding Remarks: Pourquoi Tant de Haine?

THE REALITY REMAINS that democracy centers on a political subject called the people which, given its plurality, is indeterminate in its identity—a dimension occluded in all nationalist and sovereigntist thinking on the matter. Theoretically speaking, identification with the people as such is always problematic—the people being potentially unbounded—in such a way that national identification necessarily simplifies. [28] In this sense, all nationalist interpretations of democracy must distort what democracy means, as democracy demands for nothing less than a problematic attitude towards identification of all kinds. (So, to come back to that question: maybe we really should start commemorating the Tutsi genocide or the Gwangju Uprising after all?)

If this understanding of democracy veers too much to the liberal principle of “affirmation of difference”, one can retort that it is characteristic of popular acts of disobedience to draw on historical precedents across national boundaries in search for examples (think of how Hungarian Revolution and Malcolm X were evoked during the Umbrella Movement), and thus grounded in a realistic understanding of real people in spontaneous action. Therefore, to the arguments for abstract internationalism, and also to the argument that June 4th is constitutive of Hong Kong political culture, one must add that the 1989 civil movement has acted as a major example in our present struggle; nationalist or not, it is Hong Kong people breathing the air now who choose this event as their own practical predecessor. On the other hand, the dead owe us nothing and never impose any “obligation” other than their close ones. The event has proved itself to be politically meaningful to us in a way unrelated to national history, a meaning not conferred through any forums or referenda. The question is thus not what new kinds of rituals would suit the purpose of commemorating the June 4th (just any would do, for those with the heart for it), but how this history of the people’s struggle will be continued right here (which can be translated into no rituals).

Photo credit: Kim Cheung/AP

But just as mourning represents a psychological need the denial of which would be experienced as having part of one’s humanity cordoned off, the argument that collective participation in the mourning is by itself political because it evokes a civil communion rests on the Durkheimian theory on symbols and collective sentiments—which even Durkheim himself argues preserve rather than challenge the existing social order. [29] Simply put, rituals do not belong in action. It is true to say with one of the student union leaders that mourning is entirely subjective or “idealistic”; the private character of mourning implies that it can neither be enforced as an obligation for someone who experiences no grief, nor should those who experience it be denied it (but then it’s those who did not experience grief but pretended to in the rituals who should bear the charge of ritualism). [30] Worse yet, the masses who gather for the express purpose of mourning cannot be simply transposed to a political protest without raising the concern that their original intention is betrayed. [31] As politics is between the livings, acting on behalf of dead people in politics always smacks of instrumentalization and overdetermination.

Does it mean that mourning and commemoration can only be apolitical even if the death concerned was politically motivated? This question can only be answered with an example—the death of Liu Hezhen, for whom Lu Xun wrote an essay where the writer did not call for revenge or even immediate action in the name of the dead. Lu Xun points out instead that the debt of blood which inspires hope for the “banal” with an “ignoble existence” is what the fighters with true courage should go beyond:

Those who drag on an ignoble existence will catch a vague glimpse of hope amid the pale bloodstains, while true fighters will advance with greater resolution.

Alas, I can say no more. But I have written this in memory of Miss Liu Hezhen.” [32]

[1] 黃碧雲,《媚行者》,香港:天地。2000年。頁116

[2] Joyce, James, Ulysses. Penguin Books, p. 42.

[3] 〈樹仁編委斥支聯會「龜公鴇母」 中大學生會長:比喻有爭議性但言之成理〉,明報,30-5-2016. http://news.mingpao.com/ins/instantnews/web_tc/article/20160530/s00001/1464572398577. Accessed on 15-6-2016.

[4] See remarks such as, “Why should we bind our future on that of China when the problem of Hong Kong democracy has not been resolved yet?”. Quoted from the interview of Brian Leung, (梁繼平), the former chief editor of Undergrad. UDN.com. 8-4-2015. http://global.udn.com/global_vision/story/8663/823000「香港民族論」的孕育與時代意義──專訪《學苑》前總編輯梁繼平. Accessed on 15-6-2016.

[5] The controversy started partly due to the HKUSU chairperson Althea Suen’s remarks that there should be a “full stop” to the commemoration of June 4th. She later clarified that what she meant to put a full stop on is the nationalistic form taken by the commemoration organized by HKA. See 蘋果日報,〈倡劃上句號?孫曉嵐:非以同胞身份悼念〉,6-6-2016. http://hk.apple.nextmedia.com/realtime/news/20160606/55190885. Accessed on 15-6-2016.

[6] Cho Hiu-nok (曹曉諾), “A Complete Cultural System is behind Hong Kong”, Undergrad, p. 51-62.

[7] Wong, Chun-kit (王俊杰), “Local Consciousness the only way for Hongkongers’ Struggle”. Undergrad, p. 36.

[8] Anderson, Imagined Communities, p. 6.

[9] Anderson, Imagined Communities, p. 206.

[10] More “radical” interpretations such as Giorgio Agamben would even see anarchist tendencies there, although Agamben seems more or less “Orientalist” in claiming a parallel of the “Chinese May” with May ‘68. (See Agamben, Giorgio. The Coming Communities. Trans. Michael Hardt. Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press. 85-89.) Nor is it characteristic for the people in spontaneous action to use excessively nationalistic rhetoric. Benedict Anderson also observes a similar fact that what is glorified as the nationalistic cause in history often has not “a fig” to do with the national mass. See Anderson, Imagined Communities, p. 159-161.

[11]For one such analysis, please see Schell, Orville. “Crackdown in China: Worse and Worse”. New York Review of Books. April 21, 2016. http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2016/04/21/crackdown-in-china-worse-and-worse/. Accessed on 15-6-2016.

[12] On this point, I rely on Arendt, Hannah. On Violence. Orlando: Harcourt, 1970. P. 84-85.

[13] See remarks in Undergrad such as this one, “If nationalism means giving sovereignty or the right to govern to the people, then it is completely compatible with democracy or popular government.” Wong, Chun-kit (王俊杰). Undergrad, 2015. 19.

[14] These words are taken from a group of Hong Kong sovereigntists who disrupted the Victoria Park vigil briefly. See https://www.thestandnews.com/politics/六四維園-青年闖支聯會大台搶咪-喊香港獨立-夥伴指不需悼六四-因-死的是中國學生-不是我們/.

[15] See Joshua Wong (黃之鋒),〈始於承傳〉, Mingpao, 24-5-2013.

[16] The examples are taken from Billy Fung (馮敬恩), 〈哭泣聲絕無意義——也談六四悼念〉 , VJMedia, 27-5-2016. http://www.vjmedia.com.hk/articles/2016/05/27/134517/哭泣聲絕無意義-也談六四悼念/. Accessed on 15-6-2016.

[17] Billy Fung, 〈哭泣聲絕無意義——也談六四悼念〉.

[18] The reply from the student union leader to this question is vague, to say the least; or irrelevant to the heart of the question to say more. See: http://topick.hket.com/article/1433346/中大學生會會長稱無必要再辦大型儀式悼念六四. Accessed on 15-6-2016.

[19] This concern looks depressingly formalistic (when is the last the time a ritual led to political change?), especially when provided that the motivation and identification of the participants of the new assemblies are strikingly similar. See袁瑋熙, 〈現場調查──六四各大集會,參與者本質無別〉. 8-6-2016. https://theinitium.com/article/20160608-opinion-samsonyuen-64/.

For such a concern, see 徐承恩, 〈六四悼念儀式的問題 是加入了「愛(中)國」元素〉, The Stand News. 26-5-2016. https://www.thestandnews.com/politics/六四悼念儀式的問題-是加入了-愛-中-國-元素/.

[20] Many localist commentators, in fact, credited the June 4th Vigil as the source of their own political “enlightenment”.

[21] In some sense, they also teach us the tragic dimension of a head-on clash of power with violence, eloquently theorized by Hannah Arendt. See Arendt, On Violence, p. 53.

[22] The fact that Rousseau and Ernest Renan are also frequently drawn upon besides Anderson is telling, since both the Rousseauist theory of general will and Renan’s notion of a “common will” share in their glorification of the unified will the same disdain over representation or institution, and the same neglect of social division. It is also worth mentioning by passing that Renan’s “plebiscite de tous les jours” is never meant to be literal; he famously calls universal suffrage “a pile of sand”, and prefers the nation to be led by its “more enlightened part”. (Rosanvallon, Pierre. Le Sacre du Citoyen. Paris : Gallimard. 1992. P. 407-408.)

[23] “As Hong Kong becomes more localized, we notice that there’s only Wan Chin’s version of Huaxia cultural revival on the theoretical market, which is not of much use for many people. […] So we thought a new theory needed to be developed for new directions in localism.” Quoted from Interview with Brian Leung. UDN.com. For a critique of such a “strategy of redirection” in a somewhat different context, see Markell, Patchen. “Making Affect Safe for Democracy?: On “Constitutional Patriotism”” Political Theory, Vol. 28, No. 1 (Feb., 2000), p. 38-63.

[24] Leung, Brian. Undergrad. P.25-27.

[25] See, for example, Wong, Chun-kit, Undergrad, 18; Lian, Jospeh (練乙錚), “Discussion on Hongkongers and Hong Kong consciousness with the students of Undergrad”, Undergrad, 105-106. Wong Bik-wan may be the best critic in this regard. “A right neither founded on indignation and reflection of war nor based on history and cultural humanity but merely borrowed from the fruits won by blood shed by others is fragile and cannot withstand the challenge of reality.” (〈同行於漸暗〉,Mingpao, 10-3-2014.)

[26] See Edward Leung’s word on the matter. “The walls [between “us” and “them”] do not exist for real; you just need to want to integrate.”〈從「暴動」到選舉,本土新生代梁天琦說:我不想失敗,我想贏〉. The Initium. 1-3-2016. https://theinitium.com/article/20160301-hongkong-leungtinkei/. Accessed on 15-6-2016. See also the next note.

[27] See 安德烈, 〈新移民如何成為「香港人」〉. Passion Times. 3-6-2016. http://www.passiontimes.hk/article/03-06-2016/29174.

[28] This post-identitarian view on democracy is a continuous theme in post-war French political liberalism, perhaps best represented by the theory of “empty center” of Claude Lefort. For a detailed analysis on the subject of democratic indetermination and its figuration, please refer to Rosanvallon, Pierre. Le Peuple Introuvable: Histoire de la représentation démocratique en France. Paris : Gallimard. 1996. Also see Patchen. “Making Affect Safe for Democracy?”, especially p. 44-45.

[29] See 安徒,〈先做人,再做香港人〉,明報,  29-5-2016. http://news.mingpao.com/ins/instantnews/web_tc/article/20160529/s00022/1464487813965

[30] See the remarks made by CUHK Student Union Chairperson, Chou Shu-fung (周竪峰). 〈中大學生會新舊會長駁火 周竪峰﹕無暇悼念 王澄峰:燭光是力量〉, Mingpao. 4-6-2016. http://news.mingpao.com/pns/dailynews/web_tc/article/20160604/s00001/1464975059208.

[31] This is the suggestion of Edward Leung. See〈港大學生會堅持句號論 梁天琦指逼使政權讓步最重要〉, HK01, 4-6-2016. http://www.hk01.com/%E6%B8%AF%E8%81%9E/24474/ – 六四27-港大學生會堅持句號論-梁天琦指逼使政權讓步最重要. The problem resides also in the fact that the number of attendants of June 4th vigil does not seem to correlate with any major political trends such as the strength of identification with Hong Kong, or dissatisfaction with HKSAR government (see charts 1 & 2 below; source: Apple Daily & HKUPOP). Therefore the claim that the assembly represents a potential political force along these lines would seem like an overstatement.

Chart 1

Screen Shot 2016-06-18 at 2.00.12 PMChart 2

Screen Shot 2016-06-18 at 2.00.15 PM

[31] Lu, Xun. “In Memory of Miss Liu Hezhen”. Marxists Internet Archive. 2005. https://www.marxists.org/archive/lu-xun/1926/04/01.htm.