Hong Kong organiser of Tiananmen vigil released on bail 

FILE PHOTO: Vice-chairwoman of Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, Chow Hang Tung poses with a candle ahead of the 32nd anniversary of the crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators at Beijing's Tiananmen Square in 1989, in Hong Kong, China June 3, 2021. REUTERS/Lam Yik/File Photo


By Jessie Pang

June 5, 2021

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Hong Kong activist Chow Hang Tung was released on bail on Saturday, a day after she was detained on suspicion of promoting an unauthorised assembly to commemorate the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown on pro-democracy activists in Beijing.

Police arrested Chow, vice-chairperson of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, alleging she promoted an unauthorized assembly early on Friday morning.

"There’s no logic in that. It's a completely absurd charge, (a) complete abuse of power. I reject all the allegation,” she told reporters outside the police station.

The ban on the vigil and at least six arrests came amid growing concern in the pro-democracy movement and internationally about the suppression of the semi-autonomous city's traditional freedoms, notably a national security law imposed by Beijing last year.

"I want to tell all who participated in this suppression of the Tiananmen remembrance event this year...don't hide behind the technical provision of the public order ordinance anymore," Chow said.

"Open your eyes and see what you are actually doing, what you are actually doing is to cover up the crime of the killers in 1989."

Friday saw the authorities sealing off Victoria Park, site of the world's largest Tiananmen vigils for more than three decades, to enforce a ban on the annual assembly for a second year due to coronavirus restrictions.

Some churches that opened their doors for memorial masses for the victims of Tiananmen, with people filling up the venues amid fears of being arrested on the streets. In an unprecedented diplomatic gesture amid the police ban on the vigil, candles flickered in the windows of the United States consulate and European Union office in the city.

Before her arrest, Chow told Reuters that June 4 was a test for Hong Kong “of whether we can defend our bottom line of morality.”

“As long as they haven’t said candles are illegal, we will light a candle,” she said.

Although she could not light a candle while in detention, she said she fasted during her detention.

Chow was released with cash bail HK$10,000 and due to report to the police station on July 5.

Lee Cheuk-yan, the alliance’s chairperson, is in jail for an illegal assembly in 2019. Chow herself is facing a charge of inciting and participating in an illegal assembly on June 4 last year.