Dwindling Number of Los Angeles Protesters Commemorate Tiananmen Square

David Pierson of the Los Angeles Times writes about the relatively muted June 4th reactions from the Los Angeles Chinese diaspora:

Each year, the crowds dwindle as memories of Tiananmen Square fade and China’s image in the world shifts from human-rights abuser to economic powerhouse. Thousands once protested, but now a steady group of political dissidents and pro-democracy and human rights activists often find themselves competing with China’s growing influence.

“Even if we’re down to one person, we’ll still have this every June 4,” said Gabriel Law, a member of Hong Kong Forum Los Angeles, the Wednesday night event’s lead organization, which has seen its membership cut in half over the years. “These people gave their lives so that China could have democracy and its leaders held accountable. To commemorate them is very important.”

Doing so has become increasingly difficult — especially in an ethnic Chinese community that has found more reasons to promote contemporary China than to challenge its policies and history. Business relationships abound and many have been galvanized by the recent earthquake in Sichuan, pouring donations into the consulate and applauding the government’s relief efforts.


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