Richmond’s Aberdeen Centre Station was lit up with candles, photos and a Lennon Wall on Aug. 31 in commemoration of one of many “violent” events that happened in Hong Kong last year.
The vigil was organized by the Vancouverites Concerned About Hong Kong (VANCAHK) group in memory of the 831 incident.
The 831 incident refers to the night Hong Kong police “indiscriminately” hit ordinary citizens and those passing by at the Prince Edward train station in Hong Kong, according to Jody Chan, spokesperson for VANCAHK.
The Aberdeen vigil was a way for Hong Kongers and protestors to “remember, heal and commemorate” what has happened, and continues to happen in Hong Kong.
“Aug. 31 of last year opened the eyes of many Hong Kongers,” said Chan, adding Hong Kongers are still fighting for justice.
“On the anniversary day of Aug. 31, we (Hong Kongers) are still speaking the truth for that night in Hong Kong.”
The Aberdeen event, said Chan, saw a total of 200 to 300 people who dropped by within the hour the event was held.
In order to follow COVID-19 restrictions, only 50 people were allowed in the “event space” at any time and visitors were asked to provide their information for contact tracing.
Four stations were established and taped off. One called the “Prince Edward Station” where people could read information on the Aug. 31 Hong Kong incident and another being a “Rest In Peace station” where visitors laid down candles for those who have passed away in the “violent events that happened in Hong Kong.”
The two other stations were the “healing station,” where people wrote painful memories on a piece of paper and burned them. The last station was the “station of hope,” which was similar to a Lennon Wall – a symbol of positive quotes and messages for those suffering.
“It was amazing to see so many people in Vancouver coming out,” said Chan, adding many people paid their respects quietly and left shortly after.
“There were only just a few corners for people to express themselves and that’s what we could do.”
While the event was generally peaceful, Chan said, one person became confrontational and began taking pictures of the participants. Eventually, he had to be escorted away by the Richmond RCMP because he wasn’t willing to provide his contact information as required for contact tracing.
“Hong Kongers have a bit of PTSD with people taking their photos because a lot of pro-Beijing folks have behaviours like that.”
But he was only one person, “so it ended alright,” Chan added.