The organizer of the Tiananmen Square Vigil in Hong Kong has disbanded.
In the face of China’s massive crackdown on dissent in Hong Kong, a pro-democracy group that has organized annual vigils honouring the victims of Beijing’s Tiananmen Square crackdown for three decades chose to disband on Saturday.
The disintegration of the Hong Kong Alliance, one of the most visible emblems of the city’s prior political pluralism, is the latest example of China’s rapid transformation of the business hub into its own authoritarian image.
Tsang Kin-shing, a member of the alliance, said after the group’s leadership opted to dissolve after 32 years, “This is a very sad dissolution.”
“The government employs a variety of legislation to dismantle civil society organizations,” he continued.
Many of the alliance’s leaders have already been imprisoned for their involvement in the city’s democracy struggle. Three top figures were charged with subversion, a national security offense, earlier this month.
Officers invaded a closed museum run by the group remembering Beijing’s fatal 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, removing artifacts, memorabilia, and photographs from the historic event the same week.
The group’s website and social media platforms were also ordered to be taken down, and officials threatened to withdraw its company registration.
Chow Hang-tung, one of the alliance’s leaders, urged members not to give up in a letter from prison.
In a letter posted to her Facebook page, Chow wrote, “I still aspire to expose the world Hong Kong Alliance’s principles and continue this campaign that has already lasted 32 years.”
However, two other imprisoned leaders, Lee Cheuk-yan and Albert Ho, had signed letters urging the group to dissolve, citing “the existing social context.”
In 2019, Hong Kong was gripped by massive and frequently violent democratic protests. China retaliated with a broad crackdown, including the implementation of a new national security law that criminalized much dissent and has been used to expel anybody or any political party deemed disloyal.
More than 90 people have been charged, and scores of civil society organizations, including unions and political parties, have disbanded.
Those who call for “ending the one-party dictatorship” are “true adversaries,” according to Beijing’s senior official in the city.
The alliance was informed earlier this year that it was being investigated by the national security unit and was required to send over a slew of papers and information on its membership.
Unlike many other resistance groups, which swiftly collapsed or complied with police demands, the alliance stood firm. Brief News from Washington Newsday.