Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur)

On Tiananmen anniversar­y, HK shuts doors on protesters

Prominent activist and vigil organiser Chow Hang Tung picked up by police

- Agencies

HONG KONG/TAIPEI: Hong Kong closed off Victoria Park where tens of thousands gather annually to commemorat­e China’s 1989 Tiananmen crackdown and arrested the vigil’s organiser, in what activists see as suppressio­n of one of the city’s key symbols of democratic hope.

Thousands of officers are expected to patrol the city’s streets on Friday to prevent gatherings of people lighting candles for the pro-democracy protesters killed by Chinese troops in Beijing 32 years ago.

The heightened vigilance from authoritie­s was a marked departure from Hong Kong’s cherished freedoms of speech and assembly, bringing the global financial hub closer in line with mainland China’s strict controls on society, activists say.

Hong Kong’s annual June 4 vigil, the world’s largest, is widely seen as a symbol of the former British colony’s democratic aspiration­s and desire to preserve its different way of life from mainland China.

On Friday, police arrested Chow Hang Tung, vice-chairwoman of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, for promoting an unauthoris­ed assembly. Hours later, officers cordoned off most of the downtown Victoria Park where people usually gather.

“She only wanted to go to Victoria

Park, light a candle and commemorat­e,” Chiu Yan Loy, executive member of the alliance, told Reuters, adding he believed her arrest was meant to strike fear into those planning to attend the vigil.

Police, which banned the vigil for a second year in a row, citing the coronaviru­s, said there were still social media calls on people to rally despite the ban and warned of more arrests.

“From the bottom of my heart, I must say I believe Hong Kong is still a very safe and free city,” senior superinten­dent Liauw Ka-kei told reporters, adding that police had no option but to enforce the law.

Chow told Reuters this week before her arrest 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.

Her Facebook page said Chow will mark the anniversar­y by fasting if she is unable to light a candle due to her arrest.

Taiwan will never forget Tiananmen, says Tsai

Taiwan’s people will never forget China’s crackdown on demonstrat­ors in and around Tiananmen Square 32 years ago, President Tsai Ing-wen said.

Writing on her Facebook page, Tsai said Taiwan’s people won’t forget what had happened. “I believe for all Taiwanese who are proud of their freedom and democracy, they will never forget about this day,” she said.

Wix pulls HK democracy site after police order

Israel-based website hosting company Wix recently pulled a Hong Kong pro-democracy website from its servers following a takedown request by the Chinese financial hub’s police force, a decision the company now says was “a mistake”. The firm later reversed the decision and reinstated the site.

 ?? AFP ?? An artist takes part in a street performanc­e in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong , to mourn the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre victims.
AFP An artist takes part in a street performanc­e in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong , to mourn the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre victims.

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