32 years ago, a tragedy occurred in Tiananmen Square, a massacre perpetrated by the Chinese Communist Party against its own people shot the world’s consciences. And it highlighted the contrast between the freedom-loving Chinese people and the tyranny of Beijing.
For the next 30 years, the only place, the only place of all of China’s sovereign domain, where free people can commemorate the martyrs of Tiananmen, was Hong Kong. Every year, on the June 4th anniversary, the people of Hong Kong out of their lives lost in Tiananmen, You’ve cherished the freedoms that are the birthright of every human being, and which were brutally denied to your countrymen. You were able to mark this anniversary because of the high degree of autonomy that Hong Kong enjoyed. The city was the best city of liberty and a light to us all.
Yet now, now the same regime that committed the massacre in Tiananmen Square has broken its promises to Hong Kong: the fundamental freedoms and autonomy that Beijing was promised to guarantee to you, it took away from you. For the first time, commemorating the Tiananmen massacre is illegal here. It’s punishable by a new security law — the national security law. This is a dark reminder that the regime in Beijing still refuses to respect the rights of its own people. And it’s also a reminder of why we are all gathering here tonight. We do so virtually, but we do so defiantly and proudly, and we continue a glorious tradition of commemorating the heroes of Tiananmen.
I’m especially honored to be here now. As America’s 70th Secretary of State, when Hong Kong’s freedom was being taken away, I was aware of the courageous work of Hongkongers. You fight, you fight to preserve your dignity and your autonomy. You fight for the freedoms owed every man, woman, and child made in the image of God. The Communist Party may imprison heroes like freedom-loving Jimmy Lai, Martin Lee, and others. But you, you show that the flame of freedom in Hong Kong remains a beacon.
May God bless Hong Kong.