HONG KONG, Sept. 9 (Reuters) – Hong Kong police raided the premises of the closed June 4 museum on Thursday, dedicated to victims of the 1989 Chinese crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in and around the square Tiananmen in Beijing.
The raid came hours after a dozen pro-democracy activists pleaded guilty to knowingly participating in an unauthorized rally on the June 4 anniversary last year, when rallies were banned by police, citing the coronavirus.
The vigil of 2021 was banned for similar reasons.
The reason for the raid was unclear. Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Officers were seen loading a truck with boxes, including one with the museum’s logo and another carrying a photo of a burning candle.
Police on Wednesday arrested four members of the Hong Kong Alliance in support of the Democratic Patriotic Movements in China, the group that holds the annual rallies, including Vice President Chow Hang Tung. Read more
Police sent a letter to the alliance in August requesting information about its members, 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 requested information. Wednesday’s arrests were for failing to comply with the requirements of the National Security Act.
In August, the group said the museum, which closed on June 2 due to a Department of Food and Environmental Hygiene investigation into its licenses, reopened online as “8964 Museum.” The online museum operates independently of the alliance, he said. Read more
Alliance leaders Albert Ho and Lee Cheuk-yan are already in jail for their role in the anti-government protests that rocked the city in 2019.
The former British colony, which returned to Chinese rule in 1997 with the promise that its vast freedoms would remain intact, traditionally holds the largest vigil on June 4 to commemorate the victims of the crackdown.
Mainland China bans commemorations and heavily censors the subject. China never provided a full account of the 1989 crackdown. The death toll reported by authorities a few days later was around 300, mostly soldiers, but human rights groups. man and witnesses say thousands may have been killed.
Hong Kong authorities have repeatedly denied restricting human rights and freedoms in the city and said law enforcement relied on evidence and had nothing to do with the background, the profession or political beliefs of those arrested.
Reporting by Jessie Pang; Writing by Marius Zaharia; Editing by Lincoln Feast.
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