As the 32nd anniversary of the June Fourth Incident approaches, Hong Kong authorities continue to take steps to clamp down on voices critical of the Beijing regime.
The Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China (HKASPDMC), the main group that has organized Hong Kong people for years to commemorate the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, has continued to be suppressed by the authorities for several days. On Wednesday (June 2, 2021), the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China (HKASPD) said on its Facebook page that government officials from the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department visited the June 4 Memorial Hall on Tuesday to investigate a suspected violation of the relevant ordinance because the hall was not licensed as a place of public entertainment. In order to protect the safety of the staff and visitors of the memorial hall, the Alliance had to make the decision to temporarily close the hall.
This is the first time the June 4 Memorial Hall has been accused by the authorities of operating without a license since it opened in 2012. The Alliance said it would seek further legal advice on the authorities’ accusations.
Between the late night of June 3 and the early morning of June 4, 1989, the Chinese Communist regime sent troops to forcibly clear out students and people who had been demonstrating peacefully in Tiananmen Square for days, resulting in the deaths of hundreds, if not thousands, of people.
Since then, Hong Kong had been the only place in 30 years where China could hold public rallies to commemorate the June 4 incident. But for the second year in a row, Beijing-controlled Hong Kong authorities last week banned the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China from hosting its annual candlelight memorial service to commemorate the June 4 anniversary, citing the new epidemic. A number of pro-democracy activists who participated in the memorial service last year without permission were jailed by authorities.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam was asked on Tuesday whether people could mourn the June 4 incident on their own and whether they could chant slogans to “end one-party dictatorship” in line with the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China’s platform. She responded that it is difficult to say whether a certain slogan is illegal or not, and it is up to law enforcement agencies and the courts to deal with it. But she added that Article 1 of the Chinese Constitution states that the leadership of the country by the Communist Party of China is the most essential feature of the socialist system with Chinese characteristics, and that Hong Kong cannot do anything that violates the Constitution.
Mrs. Lam added that the national security law enacted on June 30 last year has had a significant impact on Hong Kong and the environment has changed, as the national security law requires all organs, organizations, media and schools in the SAR to fulfill the national security law. She said that close to this date (June 4), she wanted to clearly tell everyone to respect the constitution and safeguard national security.
The June Fourth anniversary poll released by the Hong Kong Public Opinion Programme on Tuesday showed that 47% of the respondents supported the vindication of the June Fourth Incident, a big drop of 13 percentage points from last year. Observers believe this is related to the climate of political terror created by Beijing’s imposition of national security laws in Hong Kong on June 30 last year.
Despite the banning of the annual June Fourth candlelight vigil and the closure of the June Fourth Memorial Hall, the Alliance still hopes that Hong Kong people will be wise and flexible enough to mourn the June Fourth victims at an appropriate time and place.