China and Hong Kong: June 4th protest T-shirt design

Every year on the Sunday before the anniversary of June 4th Incident (Tiananmen Square, 1989), people in Hong Kong would demonstrate to call for justice. This year, the 20th anniversary rally will be on May 31st. Moreover, on the evening of June 4th, there will be a candle night vigil where people will collectively remember those who had given their lives for democracy. Usually, the hosting organization, Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movement in China, designs a standardized T-shirt for the activities. This year, there are some subtle changes, as netizens have already started to design their own protest T-shirt and shared with one another via online platform: such as Foncept. Below is a selection of netizens’ DIY June 4th protest T-shirt designs:


The logo is designed by Kar Chun:

頂部為天安門,天安門內為“1989”,表明地點與時間;天安門與兩撇形成“六”,下部為“四”,且下部形成古漢字“囧”,囧在網意為:鬱悶,悲傷,無奈。原意為:光明。 整個標識體現:六四事件雖然是一次失敗的運動,但在某種含義上,象徵著新一代青年追求光明,嚮往民主的思想,這一次的運動,對日後我國的民主發展有著重要的作用。

The top part is Tiananmen Square marked with 1989. It shows the time and the space of the incident. Tiananmen, together with the two vertical strokes below, form the Chinese character “six”, the lower part forms the character “four”, and together they form the ancient Chinese character “冏”. On the present day internet, the character “冏” means solemn, melancholic and sad, its original meaning on the contrary signifies for “brightness”. The design tells the message that “although June 4th is not successful, it becomes a symbol for young generation to pursue democratic and bright future. The movement is very significant for the development of China democracy.”


The four Chinese characters are “vindication” and “mincing to death”; the designer egg sandwich said:


In 1989 democracy movement and June 4th incident, the cruelest image is tank mincing Chinese people to death.


This one, designed by Tai creative design, combines the characters “June 4th” with “Peace”.


Egg, on the other hand, embeds “June 4th” into the upside down character of “condolence”.


Zi Sun uses the scripture of Goddess of Democracy, which was collectively created by Beijing arts students in 1989, in his design.



Both Joel and Z!NG use the most impactive and symbolic photo showing a Beijing citizen trying to stop the tank from entering the Tiananmen Square with bare hand for their designs.


The designer Vicky explains that the design represents “students”, “red book”, “death” and “June 4th”.

1 comment

  • I truly wonder if any of these shirt designers would actually dare to wear their designed shirt anywhere in Hong Kong after June 4. Are all of these supposed to be environmentally friendly “disposable” shirts meant to be worn once and then thrown away?

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