Hong Kong: Democracy activists arrested again | tagesschau.de

Status: 08.09.2021 8:55 a.m.

Four prominent members of the democracy movement have been arrested in Hong Kong. They organized an annual vigil to commemorate the 1989 Tiananmen massacre. The group is suspected of the “conspiracy”.

Another four leaders have been arrested in the law enforcement campaign against the democratic opposition in Hong Kong. The arrests were based on the controversial new “Security Law”. According to the “Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China”, Vice-Chairwoman and lawyer Chow Hang-tung and board members Leung Kam-wai, Tang Ngok-kwan and Chan Dor-wai were picked up by the State Security Police.

The police confirmed the arrests of three men and one woman. They refused to “provide information” on the basis of the so-called security law.

Tiananmen Memorial Organizers

For decades, the group has organized a vigil in the city every June to commemorate the Tiananmen massacre: the bloody suppression of the Chinese democracy movement in 1989. Hundreds of thousands took part in the candle devotions on the anniversary of the massacre. The activists are suspected of “conspiracy with foreign forces”. In a letter to the Hong Kong police chief, the alliance rejected the allegation of being a “foreign agent”. From their point of view, there is no legal basis for the request to provide the requested information. The police asked the organization to provide details on its members, funding and contacts with other organizations.

End of the alliance after 32 years

Since the authorities of the Chinese Special Administrative Region are severely curtailing the space for opposition activities with the “Security Law”, the Alliance, like many other civil organizations, has already been forced to disband after 32 years. An extraordinary general assembly of its members should formalize the move this month.

After the ongoing demonstrations and calls for more democracy in Hong Kong, the communist leadership in Beijing passed the “security law” in the summer of 2020, which also met with sharp criticism internationally. It targets pro-democracy opposition and is vaguely directed against activities that Beijing sees as subversive, separatist, terrorist or conspiratorial. Since then, the law has served the Hong Kong authorities to take action against the democracy movement.

Dozens of activists have already been arrested or are awaiting trial. Some have already been convicted. Many opposition members have fled abroad for fear of prosecution. Ordinary citizens of Hong Kong are also leaving the Asian economic and financial metropolis: In the twelve months since the “Security Law” was passed, the population has already shrunk by 90,000.

Since July 1, 1997, the former British crown colony of Hong Kong has been part of China again and is governed autonomously as a special administrative region. Actually, the seven million Hong Kong residents should enjoy “a high degree of autonomy” and continue to enjoy many political freedoms by 2047. However, critics believe that the Beijing Security Act has replaced the long-standing principle of “one country, two systems” with “one country, one system”.

In the past few decades, Hong Kong has been the only place in the People’s Republic of China to hold vigils and memorial services year after year to commemorate the victims of the Tiananmen massacre on June 4, 1989. At that time, China’s state and party leadership had sent tanks and soldiers on peaceful demonstrators. Hundreds of people were killed. Many sources even speak of thousands of dead.

With information from Steffen Wurzel, ARD-Studio Shanghai

Hong Kong police arrest Tiananmen massacre memorial organizers

Steffen Wurzel, ARD Shanghai, 9/8/2021 8:39 am

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