A prominent organiser of Hong Kong’s annual Tiananmen Square June 4 vigil has denied charges that she incited an unauthorised assembly in connection with this year’s banned event.

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

Chow Hang-tung, a barrister and vice chairperson of Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movement of China (Hong Kong Alliance) was arrested on the morning of June 4 for allegedly publicising the banned assembly on social media.

This came after police banned the event for a second consecutive year, citing Covid-19 concerns and sealed off Victoria Park to prevent people from gathering. Thousands turned up in Causeway Bay, despite the ban.

Chow denied the charge at the West Kowloon Magistrates’ Court on Friday, Commercial Radio reported. She said: “Mourning is not a crime. I plead not guilty.”

West Kowloon Law Courts Building
West Kowloon Law Courts Building. File Photo: Candice Chau/HKFP.

Chow did not apply for bail as she appeared in court on Friday and will remain in custody. Although initially released on a HK$10,000 cash bail, she was arrested again on the eve of Hong Kong’s Handover day on July 1, with the police accusing her of again publicising a banned pro-democracy rally.

Meanwhile prosecutors said they will rely on her social media posts and an article penned on newspaper Ming Pao as evidence. Her trial is set to begin on October 5.

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

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Selina Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist who previously worked with HK01, Quartz and AFP Beijing. She also covered the Umbrella Movement for AP and reported for a newspaper in France. Selina has studied investigative reporting at the Columbia Journalism School.