August 18, 2022

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Hong Kong: Tiananmen vigil group disbands after police probe

Democracy group is the newest of dozens of civil society our bodies to fold over the previous yr beneath authorities strain.

A Hong Kong group that organises an annual vigil on June 4 to recollect protesters killed in China’s 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown says it’s disbanding after going through “national security” costs.

The democracy group is the newest of dozens of civil society our bodies to fold over the previous yr – from a key commerce union grouping to the most important lecturers’ union – after Beijing imposed a sweeping nationwide safety regulation within the metropolis.

“I believe Hong Kong people, no matter their capacity, will continue to commemorate June 4 as before,” Richard Tsoi, secretary of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, advised reporters on Saturday.

A vote on the identical day to disband was supported by 41 of its members with 4 opposed, Tsoi mentioned.

Authorities froze 2.2 million Hong Kong {dollars} ($283,000) of the group’s belongings this month after it was charged with inciting subversion beneath the brand new regulation.

Activist group Student Politicism, which had 4 present and former members charged this week, may also shut, it mentioned on its Facebook web page on Friday.

Hong Kong authorities have repeatedly denied curbing human rights and freedoms, saying regulation enforcement has been based mostly on proof and has nothing to do with the background, career or political views of these arrested.

An authoritarian chill cloaks most points of life within the former British colony after the brand new regulation, which prescribes phrases of as much as life in jail for something China deems to be subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with overseas forces.

Since the brand new regulation was launched, most democratic politicians and activists have been jailed or fled overseas.

Leung Kam-wai, an arrested member of the group, is escorted by police on September 9 [File: Tyrone Siu/Reuters]

Probe in opposition to the group

Alliance leaders Albert Ho and Lee Cheuk-yan, already jailed over massive anti-government protests in 2019 that roiled town, had been additionally charged with inciting subversion, in addition to one other of its officers, vice chairwoman Chow Hang Tung.

Group members Tang Ngok-kwan, Leung Kam-wai, Chan To-wai and Tsui Hon-kwong have been charged with failing to supply info police had sought by a deadline of September 7.

Police requested for particulars concerning the group’s membership, funds and actions in an August letter it despatched to reporters.

The letter accused the Alliance of being “an agent of foreign forces” and mentioned lacking the deadline may end in a tremendous of 100,000 Hong Kong {dollars} ($13,000) and 6 months in jail.

Earlier this month, police raided the premises of the closed June 4th Museum devoted to the Tiananmen victims.

In August, the group had mentioned the museum, which closed on June 2 over a licensing investigation by authorities, had reopened on-line because the independently operated “8964 Museum”.

Hong Kong historically holds the world’s largest annual June 4 vigil, though police banned the final two occasions over coronavirus issues. Mainland China bans commemorations and closely censors the subject.

China has by no means offered a full account of the 1989 crackdown. Officials gave a loss of life toll of about 300 days afterwards, however rights teams and witnesses say 1000’s might have been killed.

Hong Kong returned to China in 1997 beneath a “one country, two systems” components that assured its freedoms and unbiased authorized system. China denies interfering with its lifestyle.

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