Hong Kong police say no to Tiananmen vigil on 4 June
Organisers’ request has been turned down. Like last year, the authorities cite the pandemic. Hong Kong’s Secretary of Security says that activists who fled abroad will remain criminally liable for the rest of their lives. Defendants in national security cases can now be tried without a jury.
Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – Police have refused to authorise the traditional vigil held on 4 June to remember the victims of the Tiananmen Square massacre, this according to the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, which usually organises the event every year.
For the second year in a row, the authorities cited 19 as the reason for the ban, the need to maintain social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-.
Organisers applied for permission to hold a march from the Southorn Playground in Wan Chai to the mainland’s Hong Kong Liaison Office in the Sai Wan area. Between 3,000 and 6,000 people were expected to take part this year.
Alliance leaders said that they would continue to seek permission for an authorised demonstration, hoping that the police will recognise the right of citizens to gather and demonstrate peacefully.
The administration of Chief Executive Carrie Lam has systematically used the pandemic to block all public actions in favour of democracy.
Secretary for Security John Lee said yesterday that he expected street protests to resume after the health emergency is over, but added that he does not expect them to be like those of 2019 that beset the government.
Lee also promised that all activists who fled abroad will remain criminally liable for the rest of their lives.
Meanwhile, the former British colony’s liberal legal tradition has been dealt another blow. This morning, High Court Judge Alex Lee ruled that in national security cases the defendant can be tried without a jury.
His ruling will affect the trial of Tong Ying-kit, 24, the first Hong Konger arrested under Beijing's new national security law.
Hitherto, under Hong Kong's Common Law system, juries have been used since 1845 for the most serious criminal cases. The website of Hong Kong’s own judiciary describes them as one of its “most important features”.