MJust weeks after several civil society organizations in Hong Kong announced their dissolution, the Hong Kong government has focused its action on the Hong Kong Coalition, which is known to hold the annual Tiananmen candlelight ceremony in the city.
On Wednesday, a Hong Kong court sentenced nine activists and former lawmakers to up to ten months in prison over their participation in last year’s banned Tiananmen Square vigil, saying they attended an unauthorized gathering
The Hong Kong Alliance had previously refused to comply when city police asked to provide financial records and detailed information about its members, citing the National Security Act (NSL). Instead, he handed the police a letter explaining his decision not to cooperate with the authorities.
Then last Wednesday, five members of the coalition’s standing committee were arrested by the police and charged with failing to comply with the request under the NSL. On Thursday, the coalition said its president Lee Cheuk-yan, vice president Albert Ho and Chow Hang Tung had been charged with sabotage of state power, a crime often used to target dissidents in China. .
On the same day, police from Hong Kong’s National Security Unit raided the June Fourth Museum, which was run by the Hong Kong Alliance, taking away logos, signs and other material. The museum was previously closed in June after Hong Kong’s Department of Food and Environmental Sanitation began an investigation into its license.
Experts see the coalition and the crackdown on the museum as a sign that the “one country, two systems” model has been destroyed. “One of the most important symbols of Hong Kong was creating a politically separate space from its mainland neighbors that people could gather in large numbers on the anniversary of the Fourth of June massacre in Beijing in 1989 and be independent about the meaning of many acts. of the protests and repressions that took place across China that year,” said Jeff Wasserstrom, historian of modern China at the University of California, Irvine.
Wasserström says that by making surveillance illegal in Hong Kong and Macau, as well as launching more repressive actions against an organization known for protecting the tradition related to the Tiananmen Square massacre, the Chinese government proves that there are indeed “two Remnants of “systems” are some differences in how people can earn and spend money.
With crackdown on civil society groups in Hong Kong, some Tiananmen student leaders and participants saw the museum raid and move against the Hong Kong coalition as an attack on efforts to preserve memories related to the massacre.
“The Hong Kong Alliance has been one of the most important organizations dedicated to preserving the spiritual legacy of the Tiananmen Square protests,” said Zhou Fengsuo, a Tiananmen student leader who now lives in the United States.
“This coalition has been the core of the democratic movement in Hong Kong, and has been the main platform for the annual candlelight and other activities, including support for Chinese prisoners of conscience,” he said.
Zhou explains that since the coalition has accumulated so much influence over the years, they are a thorn in the side of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The CCP thinks that it should be abolished for following the political ideology of the Chinese government.
Part of efforts to preserve memories related to the Tiananmen Square protests is the creation of an online version of the June Fourth Museum, which includes digital backups of the museum’s collections and movement records.
“While the idea of creating a digital version of the museum was underway prior to the anti-extradition bill movement in 2019, the introduction of the NSL hastened the process of establishing the digital archive,” said Chang Ping, a prominent Chinese author and an online curator of the collection.
He said, “The museum is part of a clash of CCP’s attempts to manipulate public memory about the Tiananmen Massacre, and is also a project that documents the CCP’s actions on human rights as well as resistance from the Chinese people.” is,” he said.
According to Chang Ping, Hong Kong was a very important force during the student-led movement in 1989, notably “Operation Yellowbird”, which facilitated many Tiananmen student leaders to flee to other countries via Hong Kong. The operation was led by the Hong Kong Alliance and ensured that many pro-democracy activists were rescued.
“Hong Kong provided strong support to the pro-democracy struggle in China, which gives the CCP a reason to launch repression against Hong Kong,” he said.
Zhou Fengsuo says it was clear during the anti-extradition bill movement in 2019 that if the movement did not succeed, Hong Kong would begin its process of “mainlandisation”, which would see Hong Kong’s process becoming more and more similar to China. Refers. in all aspects. “The CCP has gone mad in many aspects, but the seriousness of the NSL’s punishment is an astonishing thing,” Zhou said.
“The fact that the Chinese government decides to impose such a law in Hong Kong, where there is room for civil liberties and liberties, reflects the nature of this regime. It is using all its power to end that freedom. and Hong Kong is the first target of its expansion. It used to be a beacon of freedom and democracy, but now it has become a huge prison.”
Chang Ping says that whatever changes China has made in the last 70 years under the CCP’s rule, it will now happen more intensively in Hong Kong. “This is the future Beijing has designed for Hong Kong,” he said Granthshala.
Despite the bleak outlook for Hong Kong’s future, some experts believe that the preservation of historical records will still be important to the city. “These conservation efforts are valuable, especially when it comes to the mainland events of 1989, as collections related to them exist elsewhere, but for events in Hong Kong itself,” said Jeff Wasserström from the University of California, Irvine.
Since 1989 also saw large-scale public events in Hong Kong and Macau expressing solidarity with activists in Beijing, Wasserström feels that those record 1989 protests are an important part of Hong Kong history.
“There is a real danger of the entire record of those lost, as the CCP is trying to apply a conservative vision of the past to Hong Kong,” Wasserström said. “In a sense, since 1989 the annual vigil and related events are an important part of Hong Kong’s history, and it is important to preserve them again.”
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /