Mainland Chinese Dissidents Hit Out at Police Raid on Hong Kong Alliance

Veterans of the Tiananmen massacre and mainland Chinese pro-democracy activists say Hong Kong's Alliance is worthy of 'great respect.'
By Malik Wang and Emily Chan
2021.09.09
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Mainland Chinese Dissidents Hit Out at Police Raid on Hong Kong Alliance Richard Choi, a standing committee member of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Democratic Movements in China, speaks to reporters after national security police raid Hong Kong's June 4 Museum, Sept. 9, 2021.
AFP

Mainland Chinese democracy activists and relatives of victims of the 1989 Tiananmen massacre have paid tribute to the organizers of a now-banned candlelight vigil marking the June 4, 1989 crackdown, as Hong Kong national security police charged three of them with "subversion."

The Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China's former leaders Lee Cheuk-yan and Albert Ho and current vice chair Chow Hang-tung have been charged with "incitement to subvert state power."

Chow and four other Alliance members have also been charged with "failing to comply with a notice to provide information" under Article 43 of the national security law.

The June 4 Memorial Hall, a museum dedicated to preserving a historic record of the Tiananmen massacre, was also raided by national security police, who took away a van-load of exhibits and boxes of materials on Thursday.

Zhang Xianling, a member of the Tiananmen Mothers' victims group who donated some items to the museum, said police were possibly trying to wipe out collective memories of the Tiananmen massacre and 1989 democracy movement.

"What happened on June 4, 1989 took place in broad daylight," Zhang said. "The government brought in regular troops to kill innocent civilians, which was a crime."

"Are they now trying to cover up what happened by confiscating these things? That's not actually possible," she said. ""Nobody who lived through that will forget the June 4, 1989 massacre."

Tiananmen Mothers spokeswoman You Weijie said she couldn't see how the museum could have violated Hong Kong's national security law.

"Those relics from the young people [who died] were donated by their relatives to the June 4 Memorial Hall in Hong Kong," You said.

"We did this so the younger generation and the whole world would remember the Tiananmen massacre forever."

Keeping memories alive

Former 1989 student leader Li Hengqing said the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) had become extremely worried it would "lose" Hong Kong following the mass protests, civil disobedience, and barricade battles with riot police during the 2019 protest movement.

Li said the Alliance had allowed memories of the 1989 pro-democracy movement to live on in Hong Kong for decades.

"The Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China was founded in 1989, during the 1989 pro-democracy movement," Li told RFA.

"In the 30 years that followed, the Alliance ... ran a memorial event for the June 4 massacre victims every year in Victoria Park."

"This sort of event isn't tolerated by the CCP regime," he said.

"Now, under the Hong Kong version of the national security law, they have arrested and imprisoned many of the [leading members] of the Alliance," he said.

"We strongly protest against the charges of incitement to subvert state power brought against Lee Cheuk-yan, Albert Ho, and Chow Hang-tung," Li said.

"As someone who took part in the 1989 movement, I would like to pay tribute to all of our friends and compatriots in Hong Kong who have supported the Chinese democracy movement."

"We stand with the people of Hong Kong."

A thorn in Xi's side

U.S.-based exiled dissident Wang Juntao said it is clear that the CCP intends to take away any remaining freedoms enjoyed by Hong Kong's seven million people.

"[CCP general secretary] Xi Jinping doesn't want to allow people of Hong Kong to have freedom any more," Wang told RFA. "The CCP has already enacted this draconian law, making behavior that was once legal, illegal."

"Hong Kong has been a thorn in his side since he started bringing back many of the practices of the Mao Zedong era in mainland China, because people in Hong Kong can question that approach," he said.

Wang said Hong Kong was a relatively safe place in the Mao era, from where people could criticize what was happening in China.

"Today, we can see that Xi Jinping won't let people do this again, so at this point, he is even worse than Mao," Wang said. "These Hong Kong comrades have paid this price for the principles they believe in, and to spread the ideals they believe in."

"They are worthy of great respect, but I also feel a kind of anger and sadness at the dark times and backwards steps that we are seeing in Hong Kong," he said.

Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.

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