Tiananmen Vigil Organizers Ordered to Take Down Online Content Amidst Sustained Attacks by Hong Kong Police

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HONG KONG, HONG KONG - JUNE 04: Participants take part at the candlelight vigil as they hold candles at Victoria Park on June 4, 2017 in Hong Kong, Hong Kong. Thousands of people in Hong Kong participated in an annual candlelight vigil in Hong Kong on June 4 to commemorate the killing of protesters in Beijing's Tiananmen Square in 1989. (Image: Anthony Kwan/Getty Images)

In yet another attack on the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong by authorities wielding the National Security Law (NSL) the Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China (The Alliance) has been ordered to remove all online posts associated with the now-banned annual candlelight vigil conducted to commemorate the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. 

In a post to The Alliance’s Facebook page on Thursday the group said, “[We] received a letter from the police commissioner on Sept. 10 saying … that implementation rules provide for the removal of specified messages from electronic platforms within seven days of receipt of notification.”

The Alliance said it would comply with the national security police’s demands to remove all content from its website and social media accounts. 

“[We] will remove all posts from our website, Facebook, and other specified electronic platforms by 10.00 pm tonight.”, The Alliance said in a post. 

It is not clear whether the website museum, www.8964museum.com, created by the group and published to educate people on the Tiananmen Square Massacre will be part of the purge. Currently the website is still operational.   

The now closed museum’s premises were raided on Aug. 9 by Hong Kong police with the reasoning for the raid remaining unknown, however “officers were seen loading a truck with cardboard [from the museum], including one with the museum’s logo and another carrying a picture of a lit candle,” The Epoch Times reported. 

Sustained attacks

Since the NSL was imposed on Hong Kong by the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) on July 1, 2020 authorities have applied the draconian law numerous times in an attempt to squash the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong.

On the morning of Wednesday Sept. 8, four leaders of The Alliance — known for organizing the city’s annual 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre vigil — were arrested by authorities who allege the group was working as a “foreign agent.”

The four arrested include the vice chairwoman and barrister Chow Hang-tung and standing committee members Leung Kam-wai, Tang Ngok-kwan and Chan Dor-wai.

The four were arrested after they refused to hand over membership and financial information about The Alliance.

In August, three Hong Kong speech therapists, who were accused of sedition and arrested after publishing children’s books featuring sheep and wolves, had their bail revoked by the West Kowloon Magistrates Courts.

The books — that have been confiscated by Hong Kong authorities — featured stories about a village of sheep who had to contend with a neighboring village of wolves. The sheep were interpreted to depict pro-democracy protesters who fought against riot police during the 2019 pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

In June two executives of the now shuttered Hong Kong newspaper Apple Daily were charged, after hundreds of police officers raided their headquarters, wielding the NSL, and apprehended them in what was largely panned as a “blatant attack” on the editorial team and press freedoms in Hong Kong.

The sustained attacks may very well spell the demise for The Alliance and the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong. 

The Alliance, that’s membership is reported to include approximately 100 people, will be meeting on Sept. 25 to discuss whether or not to disband the group in the face of increased hostilities by Hong Kong authorities.