The annual vigil marking the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown in Beijing drew 44,000 supporters Sunday, the South China Morning Post reported. Attendance at the rally, which lasted around 90-minutes in occasional showers, is considered a barometer of the political climate. The Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China said attendance was only slightly below last year's record 45,000. Police on Sunday night put the figure at 19,000, the lowest since 1998. A march a week prior drew only 1,100 people. Hong Kong's Victoria Park became a sea of candles lit in memory of people killed during the crackdown at Tiananmen. The turnout comes at a time when the atmosphere is relaxed, the SCMP said.
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