A sea of candles accompanies rallying cries of "Never forget June 4!", "Redress June 4!", "Persevere to the end!" at a candlelight vigil in Hong Kong to mark 23 years since the Tiananmen Square crackdown.
A representative from theater troupe FTMP challenges people to "reflect on June 4 through action, rather than words."
Democratic political activist and founding member of the League of Social Democrats, Leung Kwok-hung (popularly known as "Long Hair"), rouses the crowds heading to Victoria Park.
Volunteer Nicole Lai, 7, hands out bookmarks to passersby at the League of Social Democrats booth alongside her mother (L). "Many people died so I'm here to pay my respects," she says.
Further down Great George Street, a 27-year-old man surnamed Chow sells T-shirts depicting Hong Kong Chief Executive-elect Leung Chun-ying. Although he was only four years old at the time of the crackdown, Chow says he chose to volunteer his services with his friends Monday to show his "opposition toward the Chinese Communist Party and its disregard for the law."
Organizers reported a record 180,000 attendees, spilling out of six football pitches at Victoria Park on Hong Kong Island.
Sitting on bleachers with a group of elderly men holding lit candles in paper cones, 73-year-old Fu Kam-tin says he has been coming to the vigils nearly every year since 1989. Fu, who emigrated from the mainland at age 12, calls the Tiananmen crackdown "the most apparent example in China's history of the strong bullying the weak." He says he continues to be "very angry and unsettled by these corrupt officials who are harming our country and harming the world."
Ms. Chan Shu-ying says she still has a deep impression of attending a protest in 1989 against the crackdown alongside thousands of Hong Kongers in Happy Valley. Now 53, Chan says, "Coming here every year will fulfill my dream of June 4 being redressed and the democratization of China's political system."
Mourners hold candles placed in paper cones in an outpouring of compassion, a continued sense of injustice, and fear for the future.
The clear highlight of this year's event was a special appearance by Fang Zheng, who had both his legs amputated after he was run over by an army tank during the crackdown. Wheeled onto the center of the stage, Zheng, now 46, thanks the crowd for "23 years of support."
Representatives from the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China and Hong Kong Federation of Students take to the stage against a backdrop imploring "Don't forget June 4."
A moment of remembrance is reflected in the face of Andrew Lee Cheuk-yan, chairman of the organizing Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China.
The Hong Kong Federation of Students declares, "Our pain and suffering is the same of that of our parents."
Michael Pang, 17, has attended the vigil for the past three years out of a sense of civic responsibility. "Even though I wasn't alive during June 4, we need to take the initiative to stand up for our rights and tell our citizens that we have the responsibility to say no to the Chinese Communist Party."