Published On: Mon, Sep 13th, 2021

Tiananmen vigil leaders in Hong Kong are charged under national security law

HONG KONG — Three leaders of the group that organized an annual Tiananmen candlelight vigil in Hong Kong had been being held in custody Friday after they had been charged with subversion under the Chinese territory’s national security law, as authorities intensify a crackdown on dissent.

Lee Cheuk-yan, chairman of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, in addition to vice-chairs Albert Ho and Chow Hang-tung, had been charged with inciting subversion of state energy under the national security law. The alliance itself was additionally charged with subversion.

Chow was denied bail, days after she was arrested for failing to adjust to a police request for info. Lee and Ho are presently serving jail sentences for his or her roles in unauthorized assemblies in 2019. The subsequent court docket listening to for the case is scheduled for Oct. 28.

Chow Hang-tung, vice chairwoman of a bunch that organizes an annual commemoration of the Tiananmen Square crackdown, being escorted to court docket in Hong Kong on Friday.Kin Cheung / AP

For the previous 30 years, the alliance organized the candlelight vigil that noticed tens of hundreds of individuals mass in the town’s Victoria Park to commemorate China’s bloody navy crackdown in opposition to pro-democracy demonstrations round Beijing’s Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989.

It was the one large-scale public commemoration of the crackdown on Chinese soil, that includes crowds of individuals lighting candles and singing songs to help democracy.

Police have banned the vigils for the previous two years citing the coronavirus pandemic, though critics imagine the ban is a part of the crackdown on dissent Beijing and Hong Kong’s leaders have waged following months of anti-government protests in the territory in 2019.

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Authorities have now characterised the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China as a overseas agent, and sought particulars in regards to the group’s operations and funds in reference to its alleged actions and hyperlinks with democracy teams abroad.

Chow and 4 different main members of the alliance had refused to cooperate with the police request for info, and had been arrested this week for failing to conform.

Police on Thursday confiscated computer systems, paperwork and promotional supplies from the closed June 4th museum, which was run by the alliance to commemorate the Tiananmen crackdown.

Police officers eradicating shows and different supplies from the June 4th Museum in Hong Kong throughout a raid on September 9, 2021.Kin Cheung / AP

Police mentioned 2.2 million Hong Kong {dollars} ($280,000) value of belongings belonging to the alliance had been additionally frozen.

On Friday, a Facebook publish was posted on Chow’s account urging Hong Kongers to not “accept their fate.”

“Maybe the other party will crush the ‘obstacle’ that is us, but resistance is about gathering strength in exchange for some time and space, to allow more ‘obstacles’ the opportunity to grow,” the post said.

“As long as we still have the will to fight, we have not lost.”

Over the past year, dozens of pro-democracy activists have been arrested, others have left the city for exile abroad, and the city has amended electoral laws to increase the number of seats for pro-Beijing legislators while reducing those that are directly elected.

The national security law, imposed by Beijing on the city in June last year, criminalizes subversion, secession, terrorism and foreign collusion to interfere in the city’s affairs.

Critics say the national security law, which has been used to arrest greater than 100 individuals, rolls again freedoms promised to the previous British colony when it was returned to Chinese rule in 1997. Hong Kong had been promised it may keep for 50 years freedoms not discovered on the mainland, equivalent to freedom of speech and meeting.

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