On June 4, protesters gathered in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Japan to mark the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown on the pro-democracy movement in Beijing, China.
In 1989, soldiers in Beijing killed hundreds of protesters who were advocating for democracy and an end to government corruption. On Wednesday, tens of thousands of people gathered at candlelight vigil in Victoria Park in Hong Kong.
The vigil has been held annually for years, and some feel it is a routine ceremonial event that has "lost significance," The New York Times reported.
Others are still inspired by it. One first-time attendee, Rex Liu, a 27-year-old office worker, said, "In previous years I have had no particular desire to attend."
"I am not here now because it is the 25th anniversary," he said. "I feel the need to come this year to express my discontent over the rotting and corrupt state of the Chinese government."
In the weeks leading up to the anniversary, Chinese police detained and also prosecuted numbers of human rights activists, the New York Times reported.
Chinese online sensor programs have also increased their efforts to block or delete websites that criticize communism or make reference to the Tiananmen Square massacre.
Although China has attempted to erase the public's memory of the Tiananmen Square crackdown, memorial ceremonies were held throughout Asia. At a vigil in Taipei, Taiwan, volunteers held portraits of political prisoners who are still being held in China.
One former Chinese student leader who participated in the protests in 1989, Wu'er Kaixi, spoke in front of a facade of Tiananmen Square in Taipei.
Protesters in Malaysia also gathered in front of the Chinese Embassy to demand government accountability. One man held a glass model of a tank covered in red paint.
In Beijing on Wednesday, there were huge lines to enter the square. All foreign and local tourists went through an intense security checkpoint.
Relatives of those killed in the 1989 military crackdown commemorated at a public cemetery in Beijing in front of the tomb of Yuan Li, one of the protesters who died.
State-controlled Chinese media organizations ignored the anniversary, although it was recognized globally. The White House released a statement, saying, "Twenty-five years later, the United States continues to honor the memories of those who gave their lives in and around Tiananmen Square and throughout China, and we call on Chinese authorities to account for those killed, detained, or missing in connection with the events surrounding June 4, 1989."