Organizers of the Tiananmen Square Vigil in Hong Kong claim that the police will not allow the event due to COVID guidelines.
The Associated Press reported that Hong Kong authorities have barred civilians from meeting on June 4 to commemorate the 1989 Chinese government crackdown on pro-democracy protestors in Tiananmen Square for the second year in a row.
Because of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, the vigil was outlawed last year. Even so, tens of thousands of people gathered in Victoria Park to sing and light candles. Although no arrests were made at the time, some were made afterwards in connection with the vigil.
John Lee, Hong Kong’s security minister, warned residents not to participate in any assemblies on June 4 because it would be a breach of the country’s national security law.
People are encouraged to light a candle wherever they are on June 4th, according to the organizers of this year’s vigil.
See the list below for more Associated Press reporting.
The Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, which organizes the candlelight vigil every year, said in a statement that the police had protested to the event due to social distance laws that ban big gatherings.
For many years, Hong Kong and Macao were the only places in China where citizens could commemorate the 1989 suppression of the Chinese democracy movement.
After months of anti-government protests in 2019, Beijing has tightened authority over the semi-autonomous Chinese city, prompting the ban on the vigil.
Beijing and local governments have suppressed dissenting voices, arrested thousands of pro-democracy campaigners, and enacted a broad national security law that punishes crimes like secession and subversion.
The legislature enacted a bill changing election regulations on Thursday that severely limits the public’s ability to vote while expanding the number of pro-Beijing legislators making choices for the city.
More than 20 people were arrested and charged with taking part in an unauthorized gathering last year, including activist Joshua Wong, media billionaire Jimmy Lai, and alliance leader Lee Cheuk-yan. After pleading guilty, Wong and three district councilors were sentenced on May 6 to between four and ten months in prison.
This year, organizers have invited everyone to light a candle on June 4th, no matter where they are.
Separately, security minister Lee acknowledged on Thursday that he had addressed letters to management companies. This is a condensed version of the information.