Hong Kong pro-democracy activist and barrister Chow Hang-tung has been denied bail after she was charged with inciting others to knowingly participate in a banned rally on the 32nd anniversary of the Tiananmen Massacre.

Chow appeared at the West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts on Friday, after her bail was revoked ahead of the 24th anniversary of Hong Kong’s Handover on Thursday.

Chow Hang-tung. Photo: Candice Chau/HKFP.

The barrister was first arrested on the morning of June 4 for allegedly publicising the banned assembly on social media. Police banned the annual vigil for a second consecutive year citing Covid-19 concerns and sealed off Victoria Park to prevent people from gathering.

While Chow was initially released on a HK$10,000 cash bail, she was arrested again on Wednesday. The police also accused her of publicising a banned pro-democracy rally on July 1.

The case has been adjourned to July 30, and Chow has retained her right to review her bail status every eight days.

Stand News reported that a man was asked to leave the court room by Magistrate Veronica Heung after he shouted “Hang-tung hang in there” as Chow stepped into the courtroom. After the judicial clerk read out the charge, Chow said “commemorating June 4th is not a crime, I understand.”

The Tiananmen massacre occurred on June 4, 1989 ending months of student-led demonstrations in China. It is estimated that hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people died when the People’s Liberation Army was deployed to crack down on protesters in Beijing.

‘Commemorating June 4th is not a crime’

Members of the Hong Kong Alliance and League of Social Democrats were at the court on Friday to support Chow.

Activists Raphael Wong, Chan Po-ying, and “the Bull” Tsang Kin-sheng were among those attending Chow’s hearing. They held two banners that read: “commemorating June 4th is not a crime, protesting against political oppression” and “free all political prisoners.”

Members of the Hong Kong Alliance and League of Social Democrats attending Chow Hang-tung’s court case on July 2, 2021. Photo: League of Social Democrats, via Facebook.

In a statement released on Wednesday following Chow’s arrest, the Alliance said that Hong Kong citizens’ freedom of assembly were protected under the Basic Law, as they requested the immediate release of Chow.

“The Alliance reiterates that Hong Kong citizens, under the protection of the Basic Law, have the right to assembly and protest, have the right and freedom to commemorate ‘June 4th,’ [we] request the immediate release and repeal all those arrested and prosecuted for commemorating ‘June 4th’,” the statement read.

Chow was also among the group of democrats charged with incitement to knowingly take part, holding, or knowingly taking part in last year’s banned Tiananmen Massacre vigil. The other defendants include leaders of Hong Kong Alliance Lee Cheuk-yan, Richard Tsoi, pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai, former lawmakers “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung and Albert Ho.’

Candice Chau

Candice is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. She previously worked as a researcher at a local think tank. She has a BSocSc in Politics and International Relations from the University of Manchester and a MSc in International Political Economy from London School of Economics.