Tiananmen Massacre Anniversary: ​​Hong Kong bans 4 June memorial vigil

A candlelight vigil, held in Hong Kong's Victoria Park on Tuesday, remembered the victims of the 1989 massacre in Beijing's Tiananmen Square.

On June 4, 1989, Chinese troops shot down democratic demonstrators around Tiananmen Square in Beijing. No official death toll has ever been released, but rights groups estimate hundreds, if not thousands, have been killed.

Hong Kong is the only place on Chinese soil where important mass commemorations are held for the event. Candlelight vigils have been held in Victoria Park in Hong Kong every year since 1990 and recent events have attracted tens of thousands of attendees.

According to an official letter shared with CNN, the police would not give permission for this year’s demonstration to continue, citing coronavirus restrictions on meetings of more than eight people.

While the pandemic was given as the reason for the rally, a national security bill was already looming on the anniversary.

The law, which will be imposed on the city by Beijing in the coming weeks, criminalizes secession, sedition and subversion and could see groups such as those organizing the annual gathering of Tiananmen, the Hong Kong Alliance in support. patriotic democratic movements in China.

“The Hong Kong alliance could perhaps be banned from functioning due to its long-term struggle to end the one-party dictatorship,” the group said in a statement Sunday, referring to the Communist Party in power in China. “It can also be characterized as a subversive organization. Our capital and property can also be frozen and confiscated. If the responsible person violates national security law, he can also be accused of the” crime of subverting state power. ” “

The Alliance had previously invited people to celebrate this year’s anniversary by lighting candles at home and organizing small-scale meetings that will not contravene the restrictions of the coronavirus, a globally extended invitation.

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“Citizens in places where public actions are impossible can remain at home on an empty stomach for a day, in commemoration of the students and civilians killed by the armed forces in the June 4 massacre and all those who died in the global pandemic following the The concealment of the Communist Party and the blocking of information, “the group said in a statement.

“Citizens in places where public action is possible can light candles at 20:00 outside Chinese agencies or any other appropriate public place, and observe a minute’s silence at 20:09, both to commemorate death and to ask for responsibility. “

With coronavirus restrictions extended until June 4, the probability that the annual rally was banned was great. It remains to be seen, however, next year, when it is hoped that the pandemic has passed, whether national security laws will prevent any commemoration from taking place at all.

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