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Hong Kong’s Tiananmen Vigil leaders charged of Subversion

HONG KONG

Hong Kong Police accused the group organizing the city’s annual candlelight vigil and three of its leaders of subversion under the national security law amid ongoing actions against dissent.

The Hong Kong Alliance in support of China’s Patriotic Democratic Movements said the group, its president Lee Cheuk-yan and Vice Presidents Albert Ho and Chow Hang-Tung were charged late on Thursday for “inciting subversion of state power” under the national security law.

The case was brought to court on Friday. Lee and Ho are already serving prison sentences for their role in unauthorized protests in 2019, and Chow and four others arrested this week were also accused of not complying with the requirement to provide information for a national security investigation.

Police also searched on Thursday the museum closed on June 4, which was operated by the Alliance to commemorate the bloody action in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989, and confiscated computers, documents, and promotional materials from the venue.

Police said that the Alliance assets of Hong Kong $2.2 million ($280,000) were also frozen. The Alliance is best known for organizing candlelight vigits in a Hong Kong park on the occasion of China’s bloody action against pro-democratic protesters on 4 June 1989 in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.

The event was attended by massive crowds every year and was the only large-scale public commemoration of what happened on Chinese soil on June 4. Authorities have banned vigil in the past two years, citing public health risks due to the pandemic, although critics believe that the ban is part of an ongoing action against dissent in the city after months of anti-government protests in 2019.

Dozens of pro-democratic activists have been arrested, others have left the city for exile abroad, and the city has changed electoral laws to increase the number of seats for Beijing legislators while reducing those directly elected.

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