Coronavirus restrictions until June 4th. Democrats denounce 'political suppression'
The Tiananmen memorial vigil is in danger. The measure prohibits public meetings with more than 8 people. The new crackdown was decided after local contagion cases re-emerged. The lockdown has quarantined the anti-extradition movement. Pressure from Beijing.
Hong Kong (AsiaNews / Agencies) - "It is an act of political suppression". The democratic front does not mince words to condemn the extension of the restrictions for coronavirus until June 4, the day of the Victoria Park Vigil, which commemorates the victims of the Tiananmen massacre, carried out by the Beijing regime in 1989. Hong Kong is the only place in the Chinese world where for almost 30 years the tragic event has been remembered.
The measure was decreed yesterday by the executive of Carrie Lam and provides for the prohibition of public meetings with more than 8 people. In fact, the measure threatens the organization of the event, which every year gathers hundreds of thousands of people.
These restrictions do not apply to religious encounters. The services can be celebrated, but churches and temples will have to make available to the faithful a maximum of 50% of the available places. Public toilets and entertainment venues such as karaoke and night clubs will be closed until May 28th.
The new crackdown was decided after the city registered three new cases of local infection on May 13: in the previous 23 days it had counted only infections imported from abroad. However, the numbers of the infection remain low: 1055 infected and 4 dead.
City officials denied that restrictions on gatherings were prolonged to sabotage the vigil. The Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, which organizes the event, thinks otherwise; to overcome the prohibitions, it urges the population to light candles on 4 June in every part of the city.
Due to the pandemic, the police had requested and obtained the cancellation of the union demonstrations scheduled for May 1st. Law enforcement officers are accused of violent behavior during pro-democracy protests in a shopping center in Mong Kok on 10 May. According to several representatives of the democratic front, it was a general rehearsal for June 4th.
Social containment measures taken in January to combat the disease have quarantined the anti-extradition movement. The Hong Kong government, guilty in the eyes of many citizens for indulging Beijing's interference in local affairs, had to face repeated protests by pro-democracy groups for months. The first demonstrations began in June 2019 against the proposed extradition law (later withdrawn), and subsequently turned into a broader movement in favor of democratic freedoms.
Activists fear that the Chinese regime is pushing the Hong Kong authorities to crackdown on pro-democracy sympathizers. In a documentary aired on May 17, the CCTV - the Chinese public television - accuses the Hong Kong democratic opposition of conspiring with the "anti-China forces".
Revelations emerged last month that city judges received orders from Beijing not to acquit any demonstrators on trial. Five democratic personalities linked to the anti-extradition movement face up to five years in prison. On May 18, West Kowloon court magistrates aggravated the charges in a trial of five activists, who are part of the group of 15 personalities arrested last month for their role in the protests on August 18, October 1 and 18, 2019.