Hongkongers should not give up commemorating the victims of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre in the face of political oppression, said an organizer of the city’s annual June 4 vigil.
Chow Hang-tung, vice chair of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, said the group had not yet been contacted by the police regarding its application to host this year’s candlelight vigil at Victoria Park in the city’s Causeway Bay district.
“We should not assume that lighting a candle at Victoria Park on June 4 will be an illegal act,” Chow said on Sunday, adding that she believed the police would not have adequate grounds to deny permission for the vigil.
Even if the vigil was banned, there was no law prohibiting Hongkongers from lighting candles across the city, Chow said, adding that people can decide on their own what to do on that day.
“[The June 4 vigil] is not a flimsy promise … The candlelight of commemoration will not be extinguished by political oppression.”
Chow said the Hong Kong Alliance has prepared an online memorial event as a backup plan, and called on the public to use the hashtag “#6432justice” to mark the anniversary.
Lau Ka-yee, spokesperson for the Tiananmen Mothers rights group that demands government accountability, said the Chinese Communist Party was prohibiting families of the crackdown’s victims from meeting up. Tiananmen Mothers was co-founded by Ding Zilin, a retired university professor whose teenage son was shot and killed by troops in the 1989 protests.
“I don’t understand why a country can be so afraid of these family members who are already 70, 80 years old,” Lau said, adding that the group will continue inviting victims’ families to address the Hong Kong vigil via pre-recorded speeches.
Police officers on Sunday challenged a street booth operated by the Hong Kong Alliance, saying that the group was not authorized to raise money using a collection box. A representative clarified that the box was only used to collect postcards from the public, which will be sent to jailed prisoners of conscience.
The officers left after videoing the scene and taking down personal information of the Hong Kong Alliance members.
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