Hong Kong police dispatched to stop Tiananmen Square commemoration
On Friday, thousands of police officers were deployed in Hong Kong, and organizers of the suppression of the annual night vigil in China’s Tiananmen Square, now banned in the area, were arrested to prevent people from gathering to commemorate the events of 1989.
Hong Kong usually holds Mass vigil Remember the people who were killed when soldiers rushed into the square. The square was crowded with protesters calling for democracy, but the police have banned these activities for the past two years due to the coronavirus pandemic.
This year is the first time since the implementation of China National Security Legislation Punishment for any acts of subversion, secession, “terrorism”, or collusion with foreign forces that Beijing considers is punishable by up to life imprisonment.
The police have not yet clarified whether the crackdown on the mainland, which has been almost erased from history, would violate the law, but in a statement late Thursday, it stated that any gathering “posed a considerable threat to public health and life.” And warned that those who participated in “unauthorized gatherings” could face up to five years in prison.
The police said: “The police will deploy sufficient manpower at relevant locations that day and take firm enforcement actions, including arrests.”
The public radio station, Radio Hong Kong, quoted an unnamed source and reported that about 7,000 police officers will conduct interception and search operations throughout the day.
When Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997, it gained political and civil freedoms that the mainland had never had before. However, since the implementation of the National Security Law nearly a year ago, dozens of activists and democratic politicians, including elected legislators, have been criticized. Arrested, and some went to jail. Others have gone into exile.
Zhou Hengtong, vice chairman of the Hong Kong Alliance for the Patriotic and Democratic Movement, who organizes the annual night vigil, was arrested by plainclothes police outside his office in the city center on Friday morning.
A police source told AFP that Zhou was detained under section 17A of the Public Order Ordinance, which covers the promotion of illegal assemblies.
The Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Carrie Lam, did not comment on the commemoration, only that citizens must respect the law and that the Communist Party will celebrate its 100th anniversary next month.
U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Brinken stated that the Tiananmen protests “echoed Hong Kong’s struggle for democracy and freedom” and pointed out that this year’s vigil had been banned.
“The United States will continue to stand with the Chinese people because they demand that the Chinese government respect universal human rights,” Brinken said in a statement. “We respect the sacrifices of the victims 32 years ago, and the brave activists who continue to work hard today in the face of continued government repression.”
Tens of thousands of Hong Kong people, ignoring the 2020 vigil ban, gathered in the city’s Victoria Park and lit candles.
This year, if it is safe, many people plan to light candles in their communities again. Some churches will be open for prayer.
The jailed activist Jimmy Sham said through his Facebook page that he plans to “light a cigarette at 8 o’clock in the evening.”
“We do not see the hope of democracy and freedom in a leader, a group or a ceremony. Each of us is the hope of democracy and freedom.”
Famous activist Huang Zhifeng was sentenced to 10 months in prison last month Admitted to participating in last year’s vigil, While the other three were sentenced to four to six months in prison. On June 11, another 20 people appeared in court on similar charges.
The Hong Kong Alliance has stated that it will no longer call for people to show up in Victoria Park and will not hold online commemorative events like in 2020.
Its chairman Li Zhuoren Sent to jail for illegal assembly.
On Wednesday, the Hong Kong Museum said on June 4 that it will be temporarily closed due to an investigation into whether it has a permit for public entertainment venues.
Tiananmen commemorative activities are banned in China, and the semi-autonomous territory of Macau also banned activities on June 4.
On the democratic island of Taiwan, a memorial hall will be set up in Taipei’s Freedom Square where people can lay flowers while observing the rules of social distancing. There will also be 64 light-emitting diodes or LEDs installed in the square.
China has never provided a complete account of what happened in 1989. A few days later, the official death toll was about 300, most of whom were soldiers, but human rights organizations and witnesses said that thousands of people may have been killed.