Hong Kong Organizer of Tiananmen Vigil Released on Bail

Reuters
By Reuters
June 5, 2021Hong Kongshare
Hong Kong Organizer of Tiananmen Vigil Released on Bail
Vice-chairwoman of Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, Chow Hang Tung, poses with a candle ahead of the 32nd anniversary of the massacre of pro-democracy demonstrators at Beijing's Tiananmen Square in 1989, in Hong Kong, on June 3, 2021. (Lam Yik/Reuters)

HONG KONG—Hong Kong activist Chow Hang Tung was released on bail on Saturday, a day after she was detained on suspicion of promoting an unauthorized assembly to commemorate the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre on pro-democracy activists in Beijing.

Police arrested Chow, vice-chairperson of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, alleging she promoted an unauthorized assembly early on Friday morning.

“There’s no logic in that. It’s a completely absurd charge, [a] complete abuse of power. I reject all the allegation,” she told reporters outside the police station.

The ban on the vigil and at least six arrests came amid growing concern in the pro-democracy movement and internationally about the suppression of the semi-autonomous city’s traditional freedoms, notably a national security law imposed by Beijing last year.

NTD Photo
Vice-chairwoman of Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, Chow Hang Tung, holds a candle beside the “Pillar of Shame,” mourning those who died during the June 4 military massacre of the pro-democracy movement at Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989, inside the campus of the University of Hong Kong, on May 2, 2021. (Tyrone Siu/Reuters)

“I want to tell all who participated in this suppression of the Tiananmen remembrance event this year…don’t hide behind the technical provision of the public order ordinance anymore,” Chow said.

“Open your eyes and see what you are actually doing, what you are actually doing is to cover up the crime of the killers in 1989.”

Friday saw the authorities sealing off Victoria Park, site of the world’s largest Tiananmen vigils for more than three decades, to enforce a ban on the annual assembly for a second year due to coronavirus restrictions.

police-in-hk
People hold candles and walk past police officers near Victoria Park, a place in the past years for people to gather during a candlelight vigil to mark the anniversary of the military massacre of a pro-democracy student movement in Beijing, in Hong Kong, on June 4, 2021. (Vincent Yu/AP Photo)

Some churches opened their doors for memorial masses for the victims of Tiananmen, with people filling up the venues amid fears of being arrested on the streets. In an unprecedented diplomatic gesture amid the police ban on the vigil, candles flickered in the windows of the United States consulate and European Union office in the city.

Before her arrest, Chow told Reuters that June 4 was a test for Hong Kong “of whether we can defend our bottom line of morality.”

“As long as they haven’t said candles are illegal, we will light a candle,” she said.

tiananmen-anniversary-hk
People light LED candles to mark the anniversary of the military massacre of a pro-democracy student movement in Beijing, outside Victoria Park in Hong Kong, on June 4, 2021. (Kin Cheung/AP Photo)

Although she could not light a candle while in detention, she said she fasted during her detention.

Chow was released with cash bail HK$10,000 and due to report to the police station on July 5.

Lee Cheuk-yan, the alliance’s chairperson, is in jail for an illegal assembly in 2019. Chow herself is facing a charge of inciting and participating in an illegal assembly on June 4 last year.

By Jessie Pang

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