The Tuesday announcement means for the first time in three decades, there will not be a large-scale organized memorial marking the bloody government shutdown of a demonstration in Tiananmen Square in Beijing on June 4, 1989.
The diocese said the church did not “mean to disapprove of the memorial Mass” but instead suggested that people honor the victims through “praying for the deceased in private or in small groups” in a statement to the Washington Post.
“However, our front-line colleagues … are concerned that such activity, if held this year, might violate the national security law now in force,” the statement read.
The anniversary, which once drew thousands for Masses and candlelight memorials, has been banned by Chinese authorities the past two years, supposedly due to public health risks amid the pandemic.
Student demonstrators filled Tiananmen Square, calling for democracy, freedom of speech and press, and an end to government corruption beginning in late April 1989. In June, Chinese authorities were given the order to advance into the square, creating a confrontation with demonstrators.
Though the official death count was recorded at over 200, many more people are thought to have died in the conflict.