Tiananmen vigil organizer vows not to admit guilt as activists appear in court


An organizer of Hong Kong’s annual Tiananmen massacre vigil, Chow Hang-tung, said on Friday she will refuse to plead guilty for her role in last year’s unauthorized June 4 event, because she refuses to acknowledge political suppression in the name of the law.

Chow is among 20 pro-democracy activists who appeared in court on Friday in connection with the unauthorized vigil held in 2020. Among them, Cyd Ho and Yeung Sum pleaded guilty, while eight others pleaded not guilty. The ten remaining activists did not submit a plea.

Chow spoke to Apple Daily after being released on bail following her arrest for allegedly publicizing the unauthorized 2021 vigil. The Cambridge graduate thanked Hongkongers for overcoming their fears and coming out onto the streets with candles while she was in detention. Their support moved and inspired her, she added.

Chow said the cordoning off of Victoria Park on June 4 truly shows the political reality that China and Hong Kong’s destinies are joined together, and that “everyone is fighting the same battle.”

At Friday’s hearing, presided over by Chief District Judge Justin Ko, the prosecution pointed out that Judge Stanley Chan had previously sentenced four other activists in connection with the unauthorized 2020 vigil. The prosecution applied for the same judge to handle the current cases, to avoid what they called discrepancies in sentencing.

Some defendants objected, and Ko said he believed it may not be necessary to transfer the proceedings to another judge.

Among the four activists and district councilors who were sentenced previously, Joshua Wong was jailed for 10 months and Lester Shum for six months, while Tiffany Yuen and Janelle R. Leung were both jailed for four months.

The June 4 vigil in Victoria Park has been banned for the past two years, with police citing the risk of spreading COVID-19. This year, the police temporarily cordoned off large sections of the park to prevent crowds from gathering in defiance of the ban.

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