TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) -Thirty years later, the political landscape appears even bleaker to Chu, who helped smuggle out dissidents after the bloodshed, and helped lead pro-democracy protests in 2014 that blocked major roads in Hong Kong for months.
Under President Xi Jinping, Chinese authorities have clamped down hard on rights lawyers, activists, Muslim minority Uighurs in the far western region of Xinjiang and Chu’s home city of Hong Kong.
“Regarding China’s political situation, I feel even more pessimistic,” the silver-haired Chu told Reuters while seated in a wooden pew in his Hong Kong church.
“The students back then were opposing corruption … but now things are more serious than in 1989.”
The June 4 events remain a taboo topic, censored by the government, which has never given an official account of the killings, released a death toll or investigated those responsible.
Witnesses and rights groups say hundreds, perhaps thousands, were killed and wounded.
In Hong Kong, where a gritty opposition has agitated for full democracy since the British colony reverted to Chinese rule in 1997, Chu is considered a more measured democratic voice.
But this year, he was convicted on a public nuisance charge for helping to organize the “Umbrella Revolution” protests of 2014 and received a 16-month jail term, suspended because of his poor health.
In a speech from the dock, Chu, 75, said that in this “last mile” of his life, he would continue to fight for justice.
“Ours is an age of absurdity,” he told the court. “Living in a society on the brink of authoritarianism and of arbitrary rule, let me be a brave bell toller, ringing, waking up sleepy souls.”