Just in time for the 32nd anniversary of the June Fourth Incident, Hong Kong authorities blocked Victoria Park, where candlelight memorial services were held in previous years, and arrested activists. This is yet another suppression of democratic voices by the Hong Kong government.
Hong Kong police closed the central lawn, soccer field and basketball court of Victoria Park at 2 p.m. on Friday (June 4) in accordance with the Public Order Ordinance. The police also urged the public not to enter the Victoria Park blockade, otherwise “the police will take decisive action and deal with the situation seriously according to the law.
Hong Kong Security Bureau statement said, according to the “Public Order Ordinance”, police officers have reason to believe that a public meeting is likely to be conducted in any public place in violation of the provisions of section 7 of the “Public Order Ordinance”, the public place and its adjacent access to other public places blocked and closed for a period of time to prohibit the public from entering, in order to prevent the public meeting.
The statement also mentioned that section 17A of the Public Order Ordinance also provides that any person who knowingly enters or remains in a closed place without permission commits an offence and is liable to imprisonment for up to 12 months.
The police blockade has left the Victoria Park area empty, but some Hong Kong people continue to light candles in Causeway Bay, Sai Wan Ho and other places. According to the BBC, Miss Yip was one of the people who came to the Holy Cross Catholic Church in Sai Wan Ho to light candles.
She told the BBC, “I think it’s the responsibility of Hong Kong people to continue the memorial service, even if the police close the road and the place, they can’t seal the hearts.” Miss Yip also said she did not want to see the space for speech in Hong Kong slowly tightened and democrats continue to be suppressed, and that she hoped people could use the only space available to them to express their condolences, even if only in churches.
Earlier Friday, police arrested Zou Xingtong, vice chairman of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China (HKASPDMC), and a delivery worker surnamed Zhang on suspicion of promoting or announcing unauthorized rallies.
Hong Kong’s Apple Daily reported that Zou Xingtong’s lawyer, who met with Zou, said police were using a May 29 personal Facebook post by Zou titled “Candlelight without guilt stand firm” as the main charge.
The report said Zou Xingtong told friends and family after her arrest that she would fast for a day if she could not light the candle on June 4.
In an interview with the BBC in late May, Zou Xingtong said, “I myself was mentally prepared to be arrested, and this is the norm in Hong Kong now. In the fight for democracy under dictatorship, arrest is inevitable. If it’s going to come, it’s going to come. It is worth the sacrifice to fight for democracy.”
The Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China has held candlelight memorial vigils in Hong Kong’s Victoria Park every year since 1989, with tens to hundreds of thousands of people attending each time. in 2020, the Hong Kong police issued a ban on the June 4 candlelight vigils, citing the Emergency Decree on Restrictions on Gatherings used to prevent and control the new crown epidemic. This year, the police again banned the June 4 candlelight memorial gathering in Victoria Park, citing the new crown epidemic.
The current situation of the new crown epidemic in Hong Kong is relatively stable. The Center for Health Protection of the Department of Health said Hong Kong had one new confirmed case of New Guan on Friday, which was imported from outside the country. Hong Kong has reported a total of 21 new cases of NCC in the 14 days between May 21 and June 3, all of which were also imported cases.
Despite the authorities’ ban on the Victoria Park candlelight vigil, some students at the University of Hong Kong commemorated Friday by washing the Pillars of National Mourning in memory of the June 4 crackdown victims and observing a moment of silence.
According to the Central News Agency, Guo Yonghao, president of the Hong Kong University Student Union, said in his speech that the event was held to guard the truth, educate the students of the University and mourn the victims of June 4, nothing else, and it was legal and reasonable.
The Pillars of National Mourning, made by Danish sculptor Jens Galschiøt, are five in number, including the most famous one commemorating the June 4 massacre, which is about 7 meters high and was completed in 1997. It is inscribed with several people with twisted bodies and painful faces, condemning the bloody massacre of June 4, 1989, and mourning the dead and injured.
Beijing enacted the Hong Kong version of the National Security Law in June 2020, which prohibits any act of subversion or secession of the country. Since the implementation of the Hong Kong version of the National Security Law, China has continued to tighten its grip on Hong Kong, and many activists have been sentenced to prison, while others and politicians have been forced to leave Hong Kong and go into exile overseas.
Four Hong Kong activists – Wong Chi-fung, Sham Ao-fai, Yuen Ka-wai and Lau Kai-ching – were sentenced to four to 10 months in prison last year for their “unauthorized” participation in the June 4 candlelight rally.