Activist Chow Hang Tung was arrested on Friday morning, for allegedly raising a vigil to commemorate the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.
This is the second year that Chinese authorities have banned the Tiananmen Square vigil citing public health grounds amid the pandemic. The government has planned to dispatch thousands of officers to execute the ban. June 4 marks the 32nd anniversary of a deadly crackdown on protesters in Beijing by China’s military.
What is the Tiananmen Square June 4 Anniversary?
For decades, thousands have gathered in Hong Kong to mark the anniversary of the 1989 shootout in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square where Chinese troops killed over 1,000 peaceful democracy protesters.
The city’s Victoria Park was where one of the biggest candlelit vigils usually took place to remember those killed and to call on China to embrace democracy.
Authorities had denied permission for last year’s vigil, also citing the pandemic at the time. But thousands defied the ban in a show of resistance to Beijing.
This year, many of the key figures who had been organizing the vigil for decades were sentenced to more than a year in jail for allegedly participating in an “unauthorized assembly” in 2019.
Why was Activist Chow Hang Tung Arrested?
Chow is the vice-chair of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, which operates the June 4 museum and organizes the annual vigil in the city’s Victoria Park.
Chow Hang Tung was reportedly arrested for organizing and supporting what police say was an unauthorized gathering.
According to the reports and statements from fellow activists, Chow was arrested outside her office over an annual vigil to commemorate the victims of China’s deadly Tiananmen Square crackdown.
Four plainclothes police officers said that she was being detained under section 17A of the Public Order Ordinance, which involves promoting unlawful assemblies, reported news agency AFP.
While the association said they would not run the vigil this year, Chow — an eminent figure in the city’s pro-democracy movement had previously stated that she would go to Victoria Park on Friday night in a personal capacity.
She said earlier in the week, “As long as they haven’t said candles are illegal, we will light a candle,”
“It’s a sign of whether we can defend our bottom line of morality … That’s the test.”
“There will obviously be fear and people cannot just assume that they can come and express their remembrance for the Tiananmen massacre victims and be unscathed,” she had said.
Chow said that she hopes for democracy in Hong Kong and China. “This is something worth fighting for. If one day we cannot talk about Tiananmen that would signify that Hong Kong is totally assimilated into Chinese society.”
The brave warriors for democracy in the new dictatorship of China are paying a heavy price for the freedom of China from a tyrannous rule where people are arrested on flimsy grounds and thrown to unknown prison locations, where voices are muzzled and silenced and people live in fear.
Today is a memorable day that marks a great lady standing for the purity of liberty, dignity, freedom, rights, and honor of the people in her country. Indeed, the wondrous joy that Hong Kong once experienced is dying out like a suffocating nightingale. It is the goal of many Chinese people to bring in a democratic reign one day where Hong Kong and China can rise with higher ideals on the wings of an eagle.