The organising group behind the annual Tiananmen Massacre vigil and Hong Kong’s June 4th Museum has been fined HK$8,000 after pleading guilty to violating the Places of Public Entertainment Ordinance.
A legal representative of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China (Hong Kong Alliance) pleaded guilty on behalf of the group in front of magistrate Jacky Ip at Kowloon City Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.
The alliance admitted to operating the June 4th museum without a licence for places of public entertainment. In a press statement released on Monday, the group said they decided plead guilty after taking legal advice.
“In face of the difficult political situation, Hong Kong Alliance, in its capacity, will look into other ways to continue the work of the June 4th Museum, continue pushing for education and (the) promotion of Chinese democracy, speaking the truth of ‘June 4th,’ persist in demanding justice over the ‘89 pro-democracy movement,” the statement read.
Ip said that because the Alliance did not have any previous convictions, had admitted to the charge and stopped the operations of the museum immediately after an inspection by the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD), he had decided to opt for a fine, Commercial Radio reported.
The June 4th Museum was shut down until further notice in early June, three days after it was reopened with a new exhibition. The alliance said the decision was made “to ensure the safety of staff and visitors.”
In recent months, the alliance has seen several of its core members sentenced to jail or remanded in custody, including chairperson Lee Cheuk-yan, deputy chairs Albert Ho and Chow Hang-tung. Seven of the its permanent committee resigned earlier this month.
The organisation of the annual vigil has also faced increasing difficulties, with the police banning the rally two years in a row citing coronavirus health concerns.
The Tiananmen massacre took place 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.