Hong Kong marks Tiananmen crackdown despite virus vigil ban

first_imgThis year’s service was banned on public health grounds because of the coronavirus pandemic, with authorities not allowing people to gather in groups of more than eight.Barricades surrounded the park on Thursday that has traditionally hosted the annual ceremony. Organizers have urged residents to skirt the ban by instead lighting candles at 8:00 pm (1200 GMT) wherever they happen to be.With Beijing planning to impose a new national security law on the finance hub that many believe will end the city’s unique freedoms, some residents on Thursday said they feared future memorials would also be blocked. Hong Kong marked China’s deadly Tiananmen crackdown on Thursday, with candle-light ceremonies set for the evening across the city after authorities banned a mass vigil at a time of seething anger over a planned new security law.Open discussion of the brutal suppression is forbidden in mainland China, where hundreds — by some estimates more than a thousand — died when the Communist Party sent tanks on June 4, 1989 to crush a student-led demonstration in Beijing calling for democratic reforms.But the people of semi-autonomous Hong Kong have kept memories alive for the past three decades by holding a huge annual vigil, the only part of China where such mass displays of remembrance are possible. “I don’t believe it’s because of the pandemic. I think it’s political suppression,” said a man surnamed Wong, 53, who kneeled by the barricades outside Victoria Park to pay his respects to the dead before travelling to work. “I do worry that we may lose this vigil forever.”Crowds have swelled at Hong Kong’s Tiananmen vigils whenever fears have spiked that Beijing is prematurely stamping out the city’s own cherished freedoms, an issue that has dominated the finance hub for the past 12 months.The city was engulfed by seven straight months of huge and often violent pro-democracy protests last year — rallies that kicked off five days after the last annual vigil. Topics : Security and anthem lawsIn response to those protests last month Beijing announced plans to impose the security law, which would cover secession, subversion of state power, terrorism and foreign interference.China says the law — which will bypass Hong Kong’s legislature — is needed to tackle “terrorism” and “separatism” in a restless city it now regards as a direct national security threat.But opponents, including many Western nations, fear it will bring mainland-style political oppression to a business hub that was supposedly guaranteed freedoms and autonomy for 50 years after its 1997 handover to China from Britain.Further inflaming tensions, China has been pushing for another law that would punish insults towards China’s national anthem with up t three years in jail.Hong Kong’s lawmakers are expected to vote on the anthem bill on Thursday.With the Victoria Park vigil banned, Hong Kongers are organizing locally and getting creative, chiefly with the scattered candle-light ceremonies.Online groups have sent out maps and lists of more than a dozen districts calling for people to gather for small vigils.Seven Catholic churches have also announced plans to host a commemorative mass on Thursday evening.Riot police have moved swiftly against protests forming in recent weeks, citing the coronavirus measures and arresting hundreds of people.Vigils are also planned in neighboring Taiwan and among the Chinese diaspora in many western countries. But in mainland China, the crackdown is greeted by an information blackout, with censors scrubbing mentions of protests and dissidents often visited by police in the days leading up to June 4.Police in Beijing prevented an AFP photographer from entering Tiananmen Square to record the regular pre-dawn flag-raising ceremony on Thursday. The candle emoji has been unavailable in recent days on China’s Twitter-like Weibo platform. On Wednesday, China’s foreign ministry described calls by Taiwan for Beijing to apologize for the crackdown as “complete nonsense”. “The great achievements since the founding of new China over the past 70 or so years fully demonstrates that the developmental path China has chosen is completely correct,” spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters. last_img read more

Diane M. Bedel

first_imgDiane M. Bedel, age 59 of Oldenburg, died Friday, March 24, 2017 at St. Andrew’s Health Campus.  Born August 20, 1957 in Batesville, she is the daughter of Clara (Nee: Fischer) and Kenneth Bedel.  She was a member of the Knights of St. John’s Ladies Auxiliary #127 of Oldenburg and Holy Family Church.Diane was a very dedicated client at New Horizons for many years. She was also an avid Reds fan and Johnny Bench was her favorite player.  She played guitar, loved country music and line dancing, horses and working word search puzzles.  Her family explained Diane had a knack for being able to remember everyone’s birthday’s and their age……..whether you wanted her to or not.She is survived by sisters and brothers-in-law Joan Nobbe (godmother), Lois and Carl Bohman and Jane and Bob Fussner, all of St. Peter’s, Indiana; brothers and sisters-in-law Raymond and Millie Bedel of Metamora, Indiana and Lawrence and Theresa Bedel of Oldenburg and numerous nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews and great great nieces and nephews.  She is preceded in death by her parents Kenneth and Clara Bedel; brother-in-law Harold Nobbe; godfather Edmund Bedel and niece Karen Bedel.Visitation is Monday, March 27th, from 4 – 7 p.m. at the Weigel Funeral Home with a rosary service at 4 p.m.  Funeral services are 10 a.m. Tuesday, March 28th, at Holy Family Church with Rev. Dan Bedel officiating.  Burial will follow in the church cemetery.  The family requests memorials to the Tri-County Council.last_img read more

Harris flies fastest in sprint to Dixieland checkered flag

first_imgCharlie Ware and Bill Rice paced the IMCA RaceSaver Sprint Car field to green with Harris going to the top and flying around to lead lap one with Rice holding off John Karklin for second and Bron­zie Lawson in fourth.  Karklin got by Rice as did Lawson and Brandon McLain, but Harris was up high and rolling, keep­ing distance on the field. The top group was racing hard to catch Harris as the laps were clicking off with Andy Best and Jake Karklin trying work up through the field before laps ran out.  By Jim Haines  As the checkered waved, Harris flashed by for his first of the year with Best second and John Karklin holding of son Jake for third. Jerald Harris became the fourth different winner in as many Virginia Sprint Series events held this sea­son when the IMCA RaceSaver Sprint Car our traveled to Dixieland Speedway Friday night. (Photo by Jim Haines) After a quick caution for a spin, Harris was back to the top and rolling. Lawson fell out but was replaced by Best. With the white flag in sight, Best was under John Karklin and Jake Karklin was all over his dad for third. ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (May 10) – Jerald Harris moved to the top and took off for his first win of the year to top a Fast Friday Virginia Sprint Series field at Dixieland Speedway. Next the Virginia Sprint Series will travel to Natural Bridge Speedway on Saturday, May18 .  Feature results – 1. Jerald Harris; 2. Andy Best; 3. John Karklin; 4. Jake Karklin; 5. Brandon McLain; 6. Daren Bolac; 7. Ben McCall; 8. Bill Rice; 9. Charlie Ware; 10. Chris Ware; 11. Bronzie Lawson; 12. Matt Mullins.last_img read more