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Thursday, October 21, 2021

Hong Kong’s Tiananmen vigil organiser defies police probe

HONG KONG, Sept 7 — The pro-democracy group behind Hong Kong’s annual Tiananmen Square vigils arrange a showdown with authorities on Tuesday as they defied a police deadline to cooperate with a “nationwide safety” investigation into their actions.

The Hong Kong Alliance organised three a long time of vigils commemorating the victims of Beijing’s Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989.

It is now being investigated beneath a robust nationwide safety regulation that China imposed on Hong Kong to stamp out dissent after enormous and sometimes violent democracy protests broke out two years in the past.

Last month police ordered the group at hand over monetary and operational particulars, accusing it of working as a “overseas agent”. 

The request included the non-public particulars of all members since its founding in 1989, all assembly minutes, monetary information and any exchanges with different NGOs advocating democracy and human rights in China.

On Tuesday, the deadline for the request, members of the alliance handed a letter explaining their refusal to cooperate.

“We are going to reply, to say that we really feel you haven’t any authorized grounds to your calls for, so we’re simply going to disregard you,” Chow Hang-tung, a barrister and alliance member, instructed eNM on her solution to the police station.

Tsui Hon-kwong, one of many alliance’s administrators, additionally filed a judicial evaluation within the courts arguing that the police request for info was unlawful. 

“The Commissioner… offers no clarification on why he fairly believes that the Alliance is a overseas agent, thus hampering the Alliance from making any concrete rebuttal or clarification,” Tsui argued in his utility. 

“This offends the principles of pure justice.”

Hong Kong authorities had beforehand warned that alliance leaders confronted jail or fines in the event that they refused to cooperate with their probe. 

“To keep away from bearing the authorized danger, the organisation involved ought to instantly flip again earlier than it’s too late,” the Security Bureau mentioned on Monday.

China is at present remoulding Hong Kong in its personal authoritarian picture. 

Dozens of democracy figures have been arrested and an official marketing campaign has been launched to purge the town of anybody deemed “unpatriotic”.

The alliance, formally titled the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, was as soon as one of the vital seen symbols of the town’s political plurality.

Each June 4 it organised giant candlelight vigils in Hong Kong’s Victoria Park that had been routinely attended by tens of hundreds of residents, the crowds swelling lately as anger over how Beijing was working the town intensified.

Slogans on the vigils typically referred to as for democracy in China and an finish to one-party rule. 

Tolerance for such political defiance has since ended.

The final two Tiananmen vigils had been banned by the police and earlier this yr metropolis officers shuttered a museum operated by the alliance.

Authorities in China and Hong Kong have additionally mentioned that future vigils would possible break the brand new safety regulation. — eNM

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