Yesterday was the 94th anniversary of the May 4th Movement (五四運動) in 1919. It is now almost 100 years after the May 4 Movement. Yet it is still relevant. It started as a demonstration against the spineless behaviour of the then nascent republican Chinese government in response to the foreign powers’ exploitation of China in the aftermath of the First World War. It was also a demand for cultural renewal and political reformation. China has, to a large extent, strengthened its position in relation to other countries. But culturally China is still in a mess, morally it is corrupt, and politically it is still dictatorial and repressive. Hence the continued relevancy of the spirit of May 4.
Not many symbols of the movement remain in Hong Kong. One of which is the grave of Cai Yuanpei (蔡元培) in Aberdeen. He died in Hong Kong in 1940. It has been 74 years, and still, many people remembered him. I visit his grave once or twice a year, and often find company or flowers. He was a great man, a great president of Beijing University. When the protesting students were arrested by the militarist government, he negotiated for the students’ release, and later resigned from his position in protest. Few university presidents have demonstrated such courage since.