Many Hong Kong people do care.
Yes, democracy may not be what the poor peasant is thinking when he is brekaing his back tilting the land. But he is probably thinking why his local party cadre has forced him off his land without proper compensation; why his daughter is harassed by local officials and when he reported to the police or the court he is turned away, then beaten by thugs; why, when he goes to Beijing to seek justice from the central government department that deals with these issues, he cannot get any access for months and months, until the local cadres come and threaten to beat him to death if he doesn't go back to the village; whether, he might think, it would help if he expose the injustice to the media; and why the editor of the only newspaper in town which published stories like his was soon fired.
These are the ills of the dictatorship. Fairly common traits of all dictatorships, as one can imagine. Sure, the Chinese government has accomplished a lot. It has improved the lives of many. It has its good sides. But do these things justify the injustice? Do we have to satisfy ourselves with the believe that, without such injustice and suppression, there can be no progress? Either suppression or starvation? Is it too much to demand progress in both economics and social justice/rights? This is what the Beijing students demanded in 1989. They wanted less corruption by party cadres, they wanted more freedom, while the country was undergoing dramatic market transformation. They also wanted some form of democracy, as it is clearly a possible way to achieve these goals. And what they got was bullets and tanks. Since then, control had been tightened, not loosened, in China, in order to prevent another mass demonstration like that. Today, it is inconceivable that anything close to the scale of the 1989 demonstration can even begin to form, because they will be thoroughly suppressed at the roots.
The need for redress of the 1989 incident is not justified by the debate about whether a copy of Western Democracy is suitable for China, whether stability is more important than freedom, whether economic growth is more important than freedom and justice. These are false choices. The need to redress June 4 comes from the need for a governemnt to acknowledge its brutality, and commit that it will not do it again, that it should aim at providing justice and clean government to the people, while striving for economic betterment. Is this too much to ask? Is this not the basic responsibility of any government?
So we will remember June 4, because people in the Mainland are forgetting. It's our responsibility to remember what happened, where we can, and remind ourselves what a government is capable of doing, what it has done, and what it must not do again. A nation that forgets its own history, is a truly frightening one.