(HONG KONG) JUST IN: Police have charged the group that organises the city’s annual Tiananmen Square massacre candlelight vigil as well as three of its leaders with subversion under the national security law #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Sept.11: The Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China said the group, its chairman Lee Cheuk-yan, and vice-chairs Albert Ho and Chow Hang-tung were charged with “inciting subversion of state power” under the national security law…..

#AceDailyNews says that Hong Kong Tiananmen vigil leaders have been charged with subversion after Tiananmen museum raided: Three former Apple Daily reporters are taking the risk of speaking out to 7.30, saying they fear more media outlets could be targeted next.

The case was brought before court on Friday. Mr Lee and Mr Ho are already serving jail terms for their roles in unauthorised protests in 2019.

Mr Chow and four others arrested this week were also charged with failing to comply with the requirement to provide information for a national security investigation.‘Nobody is safe’: Hong Kong journalists speak out about crackdown on press freedomThree

In Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian described the arrests as “a legitimate, just and necessary action to defend the authority of the national security law and ensure Hong Kong’s lasting stability”.

Mr Zhao reiterated that Hong Kong was governed by law and that anyone who violates the national security law must be punished by the law.

Mainland China bans commemorations and heavily censors the topic of the the bloody Tiananmen Square crackdown against pro-democracy demonstrators in Beijing on June 4, 1989.

China has never provided a full account of the 1989 event.

The death toll given by officials days later was about 300, most of them soldiers, but rights groups and witnesses say thousands of people may have been killed.

Raid on Tiananmen democracy museum

Police earlier raided the closed June 4 museum, which was run by the alliance to commemorate Tiananmen Square, and confiscated computers, documents and promotional materials from the venue. 

A large cardboard cutout of a woman's head is carried by police officers.
Police were seen removing items from the museum.(AP: Kin Cheung)

Police said 2.2 million Hong Kong dollars ($385,000) worth of assets belonging to the alliance, which is best known for organising annual vigils to mark the anniversary of the 1989 event, were also frozen.

The vigil was attended annually by massive crowds, and was the only large-scale public commemoration of the June 4 crackdown on Chinese soil. 

Authorities have banned the vigils for the past two years, citing public health risks due to the pandemic, although critics believe the ban is part of an ongoing crackdown on dissent in the city following months of anti-government protests in 2019.

Police sent a letter to the alliance in August requesting information about its membership, finances and activities by September 7, according to a copy the group sent to reporters.

The letter accused the alliance of being “an agent of foreign forces”. The group said it would not provide the information requested. Wednesday’s arrests were for failing to comply with national security law requirements.

A large cardboard flame is put in the back of a truck by police in a Hong Kong street.
The raid on the museum came hours after pro-democracy activists pleaded guilty to an unauthorised gathering.(AP: Kin Cheung)

Dozens of pro-democracy activists have been arrested, others have left the city for exile abroad, and the city has amended electoral laws to increase the number of seats for pro-Beijing legislators while reducing those that are directly elected.’

The national security law, imposed by Beijing on the Hong Kong in June last year, criminalises subversion, secession, terrorism and foreign collusion to interfere in the city’s affairs.

Critics say the national security law, which has been used to arrest more than 100 people, rolls back freedoms promised to the former British colony when it was handed over to China in 1997.

Hong Kong had been promised it could maintain freedoms not found on the mainland for 50 years, such as freedom of speech and assembly.

Reuters/AP

#AceNewsDesk report ……Published: Sept.11: 2021:

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