According to RFA, on Sept. 25, after facing national security charges, the 32-year-old Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China—a group of Hong Kong residents who hold an annual vigil on June 4 to remember the protesters killed in China’s 1989 Tiananmen Square—voted to disband on Saturday.
It is the latest of dozens of civil society organizations, ranging from a vital trade union to the most prominent teachers’ group, to disband in the past year after Beijing implemented a comprehensive security law in the city.
After 32 years of supporting victims of the Tiananmen massacre, demanding accountability, and campaigning for an end to one-party rule, members voted 41-4 to disband at a special general meeting held under tight police surveillance in Hong Kong’s Mongkok.
“Mourning the victims of the Tiananmen Square crackdown is the fundamental right of Hong Kong people. The dissolution of the alliance marks the end of freedom of assembly and expression in Hong Kong.” a devastated John Sham Kin-fun, a filmmaker and former committee member of the alliance, remarked.
Richard Tsoi, the secretary of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, told reporters, “I believe Hong Kong people, regardless of their capabilities, would continue to remember Jun. 4 as before.”
Tsoi also expressed confidence that the regime would not be able to erase the memory and awareness of the Jun. 4, 1989 events, which are rarely taught or publicly discussed on the mainland due to CCP censorship.
According to Reuters, authorities froze HK$2.2 million ($283,000) of the group’s assets this month after being accused of acting as an agent of a foreign power. Leaders Chow Hang-tung, Albert Ho, and Lee Cheuk-yan were arrested on suspicion of “inciting to overthrow state power.”
On Sept. 5, vice president of the Hong Kong Coalition in Support of the Chinese Patriotic Democratic Movements, Chow Hang-tung, remarked at a news conference: “This is really a bad precedent for the national security (police) to abuse power by labeling any civilian organization as a foreign agent.”
“The union strongly rejects saying that we are foreign agents.” “We are an organization founded during the 1989 democracy movement, and this organization was founded by the people of Hong Kong.”
Ms. Chow also added: “Hong Kong is a cosmopolitan city; it’s only natural to have connections with foreign countries. If we are foreign agents, then everyone here is a minion foreign”
Zhang Xianling, a member of the Tiananmen Mothers’ victims group, said that the absence of a candlelight vigil doesn’t mean that there is no candlelight in the hearts of people of conscience, she said: “That light…the memory of Jun. 4, 1989…will never go out.”
The China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group, which once campaigned for China’s embattled human rights lawyers, announced on its website on Sept. 21 that it had received a letter of inquiry from the Hong Kong Police on Aug. 25, 2021, and had “decided to dissolve in September 2021 and has already activated the voluntary liquidation procedure.”
After being condemned by the Beijing-backed media, the pro-democracy Confederation of Trade Unions (CTU) will vote on whether to disband on Oct. 3, as a preliminary to an investigation under the national security law.