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September 24, 2017

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Over 1,000 join Taipei vigil to remember Tiananmen

TAIPEI -- Over 1,000 joined a candlelight vigil in Taipei Wednesday night to mark the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, calling on the Chinese government to acknowledge the wrongfulness of the massacre and release jailed dissidents.

The participants, many of them students from Taiwan, China, Hong Kong and Macau, gathered at the National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall (自由廣場) to pay tribute to the victims of the bloody June 4, 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy student demonstrators in Beijing.

During the vigil, participants, dressed in black, held candles to remember the victims and sang "Do You Hear the People Sing?" — a revolutionary song from the musical Les Miserables — to urge the Chinese government to listen to its people.

"In addition to righting the wrong, our bigger hope is for the Chinese government to pursue the responsibilities of the perpetrators, " aid Henry Kwok, a spokesperson for the Association of Taiwanese Students for the Democratization of China, one of the organizers of the event.

He said the event also hopes to voice support for dissidents and activists who are jailed or detained in China, noting that the Chinese government has stepped up its crackdown on these individuals this year.

20 NGOs Participate

Around 20 NGO representatives took to the stage during the vigil, each holding a large photo of a detained dissident in front of them, to protest China's treatment of the dissidents, including Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波).

Student leaders of the 1989 Tiananmen protests and Chinese dissidents also attended the vigil and called on the Taiwan public to continue to help push for democracy in China.

"The support you gave us 25 years ago, we still need it today," Wu'er Kaixi (吾爾開希), who has spent decades in exile, said during a speech.

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