Donations to the organiser of the annual candlelight vigil commemorating the Tiananmen Massacre has dropped around 17 per cent compared to last year. Pro-democracy parties also received fewer donations from the event than in previous years.

The Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China said it received HK$1.4 million in donations at the vigil on Sunday – HK$340,000 less than it received in 2016.

This year’s vigil was attended by an estimated 110,000 people, according to the Alliance – the lowest turnout in nine years.

1989 Tiananmen Massacre vigil
The 2017 Tiananmen Massacre vigil in Victoria Park. Photo: Kris Cheng/HKFP.

Alliance chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan said they will work harder to attract the younger generation to the candlelight vigil, Apple Daily reported.

Lee Cheuk-yan, the secretary of the Alliance, said the donations will be used to fund operating costs for the temporary June 4 memorial museum after deducting expenses for the vigil. He said the Alliance was still looking for a new site for the museum. Lee said a 2,000-square-foot space may require HK$14 million, but it has only gathered HK$7 million so far.

Pro-democracy parties also gathered funds for their operations on Sunday. Many of them have members who face legal challenges by the government.

The Demosisto party, formed in 2015, suffered the greatest drop in donations. It raised HK$450,000 last year, but only HK$178,000 this year.

Demosisto lawmaker Nathan Law
Demosisto lawmaker Nathan Law on June 4, 2017. Photo: Demosisto

The League of Social Democrats received HK$188,000 in donations, HK$38,000 less than last year. People Power received HK$70,000, around HK$30,000 less than last year.

The Civic Party received HK$160,000, a drop of HK$127,000 compared to 2016. The Labour Party received HK$38,000, also a significant drop from HK$95,000 received last year. But the group Democracy Groundwork, founded by lawmaker Lau Siu-lai, received around HK$80,000, a similar amount compared to last year. All three groups gave one tenth of the donations they received to the Alliance.

Democratic Party
Democratic Party gathering donations on June 4, 2017. Photo: Democratic Party.

The Democratic Party continued their past tradition of only raising funds for the Alliance and not for the party itself.

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.