Yellow umbrellas in Taiwan to remember Tiananmen massacre
People who attend a vigil on the 26th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre in Taipei on Thursday will hold yellow umbrellas — a symbol of the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement — to remember the tragedy that took place in Beijing in 1989, organizers said Tuesday.
Two-hundred yellow umbrellas will be distributed to participants, who are also encouraged to bring their own umbrellas to the annual event, said Hsu Yu-ling, a member of event co-organizer the Association of Taiwanese Students for the Democratization of China.
A large image showing Beijing’s Tiananmen Square will be erected at the site of the vigil and participants will be encouraged to open their yellow umbrellas in front of it as a symbol of resistance against China’s suppression of human rights, freedom and democracy, organizers said.
“This year we are holding up umbrellas to echo Hong Kong people’s call (for democracy),” said Yang Hsien-hung, head of the Taiwan Association for China Human Rights, another of the organizers.
“Each year, the vigil not only commemorates the massacre, but serves as a reminder that the same viciousness is still taking place every day.
“We commemorate the Tiananmen Incident not only for the past, but also for the future,” he said.
In addition to holding up umbrellas, participants in the Taipei vigil will light candles to remember those who lost their lives in the 1989 massacre.
The event will also voice support for political dissidents in China, including Chinese civil rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang, activist Chen Yunfei (? ?, writer Chen Xi and journalist Gao Yu, as well as for the Tiananmen Mothers, a group representing families of the victims, Amnesty International Taiwan Director Bo Tedards said.
Wang Dan, one of the student leaders in the Tiananmen Square protests, and Chinese writer and democracy activist Yu Jie, will speak at the event, which will be held at the National Chiang Kaishek Memorial Hall, organizers said.
The event will conclude with everyone singing “We Shall Overcome,” a protest song that became the unofficial anthem of the African-American civil rights movement.
The Tiananmen Massacre remains a taboo subject in China.
After weeks of pro-democracy protests in 1989, Chinese troops and tanks fired on civilians in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square on June 4. Estimates of the death toll range from several hundred to thousands.
Over 1,000 joined a candlelight vigil in Taipei last year to mark the 25th anniversary of the massacre.