At least six people were arrested in Hong Kong during the opening hours of the unauthorized vigil on the 32nd anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre, and a dozen fined the terms of the restrictions.
The country’s authorities decided, on Beijing orders, to suspend this traditional vigil for the second year in a row after it was alleged that the concentrations posed a risk to public safety due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The organizers, on the other hand, complain that the Hong Kong government is once again acting on behalf of the Beijing authorities to curtail what they see as an event to express their opposition to the Chinese government as the territory has been in operation for 37 days , counted this Friday without reviewing cases of local transmission of the coronavirus.
Despite the restrictions, hundreds of Hong Kongers have taken to the streets dressed in black or with burning candles in hand to commemorate the victims of Tiananmen, always in areas far from the areas closed by the authorities, such as the Great Park of Victoria Park. .
An additional 7,000 police officers were dispatched to various parts of the territory to help contain any signs of concentration. There have been a few incidents in the Causeway Bay area where security forces have shown the purple flag warning protesters of impending police charges.
Police are also watching a concentration of around 50 people who decided to form a human chain with their flashlights in the Sogo department store near the park.
The Catholic Church in Hong Kong has decided to organize special evening services where participants can pray for the victims of the massacre in Heavenly Square, such as in St. Andrew’s Church in Hang Hau, where at 7:00 a.m. around 200 seats were occupied one hour before mass, which resulted in church officials turning away dozens of believers.
At least six people, aged 20 to 75, were reportedly arrested by 10:00 p.m. local time on suspicion of incitement to attend an unauthorized gathering, habitual assault, disorderly behavior in a public place and obstruction of the police by the authorities in a statement collected by the South China Morning Post.
Twelve other people were fined for disregarding the ban on public gatherings of more than four people, one of the toughest measures in the coronavirus containment regime.
The great unknown is whether the authorities will incorporate any expressions of condolences into the controversial framework of the so-called National Security Law, a law passed by the Beijing authorities in late June last year that prohibits “acts of subversion, secession”, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. “
That law still didn’t exist at the banned vigil last year when thousands of people turned up anyway, and although the police were tolerant of unauthorized gatherings in the park, 26 activists were later arrested for the crimes of the gathering.
The brutal suppression of the student and worker protests that took place on Tiananmen Square between April and June 1989 remains a taboo subject in China, not least because the demands made by the organizations at the time still remained unanswered.
These protests were triggered by the sudden death of their former general secretary Hu Yaobang at a meeting of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which led the reform of the 1980s, but was accused of failure by the “de facto” Asian leader, Deng Xiaoping, to contain the student unrest of 1987.
The massacre was documented by the international press that he was in China at the time to cover the visit of the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Even so, the exact number of victims is unknown.
In the chapter on reactions, the United States has been joined in the past few hours by the President of Taiwan, Tsai Ing Wen, who posted a message and picture showing dozens of burning candles. “We have to unite to defend our ideas,” he announced.
“The people of Taiwan will never forget those who gave their lives for the cause of freedom and democracy on Tiananmen Square 32 years ago. Every year we join victims in our friends in Hong Kong and around the world, “he added in a statement posted on his social networks.