Organizers of Tiananmen commemoration vigil jailed in Hong Kong

13:36, 15 September 2021
Organizers of Tiananmen commemoration vigil jailed in Hong Kong Photo:

Nine activists were sentenced to up to ten months of prison for holding last year’s demonstration.

On Wednesday nine Hong Kong pro-democracy militants were their terms for participating in contributing to a Tiananmen Square candlelight vigil. The convicted will spend from six to ten months in prison according to their role in the event.

The activists make part of 12 defendants who pleaded guilty earlier. Three other got suspended sentences.

The group was accused of taking part in an unauthorized assembly while seven of them were also convicted for inciting others to gather on the square to mark the 31st anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre and honor its victims.

The government forbade holding the annual event for two years for the first time in 30 years due to COVID-related concerns. However, critics and human rights groups believe that it is another act of oppression against the semi-autonomous territory’s pro-democracy movement.

Despite the ban, demonstrators still gathered in the street on June 4 and invaded the Victoria Park venue to light candles and sing songs paying tribute to those who were killed and injured in the massacre.

The police arrested several dozen activists including leaders of the Hong Kong Alliance which organizes the event. The rest of the detained pleaded not guilty and will come to court in autumn.

Last year, Chinese authorities introduced a new national security law on Hong Kong that targets secession, subversion, terrorism, and foreign collusion in the region’s affairs. Over 100 people have been arrested under it and waiting for trials since the first conviction on July 30.

The Tiananmen Square Massacre took place on June 4 when thousands of protesters led by student movements and demanding anti-corruption measures and democratic reforms were killed or injured by the Chinese People's Liberation Army. The precise number of the victims varies from some 300 to several thousand.

The tragic event was preceded by seven weeks of manifestations including a hunger strike. The subject is taboo in mainland China and the government tries to block the subject by banning related books, movies, and press articles.