The organiser of Hong Kong’s annual Tiananmen Massacre vigil has been ordered by the police to remove all “online platform information.”
The Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China said on Thursday that the group, seven of its standing committee members, and the company secretary received letters from the Commissioner of Police last Friday.
The group said that the force made the data removal request based on Article 43 of the national security law, and the Alliance had to comply with the demand within seven days of receiving the letter.
The Alliance said that they will remove their website, Facebook page, Instagram page, Twitter account, and YouTube channel at 10 p.m. on Thursday. “The Alliance will publish Alliance information through a new online platform,” a statement read.
The YouTube channel alone contains videos of the Victoria Park vigil dating back over a decade.
The online June 4th Museum, which the Alliance said was not owned or managed by the group, will not be removed. Police raided the Alliance’s premises, including its shuttered historical museum to the memory of the 1989 massacre last week, confiscating exhibits as evidence.
The national security law, enacted in June last year, criminalised subversion, secession, collusion with foreign forces and terrorist acts, which were broadly defined to include disruption to transport and other infrastructure.
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.
National security charges
Members of the Alliance were brought to court over two national security law cases last week, during which all were denied bail.
Chairperson of the Alliance Lee Cheuk-yan, Vice-chairperson Chow Hang-tung, former vice-chair Albert Ho, and the Alliance itself were accused of inciting subversion, while Chow and four other standing committee members were also accused of refusing a national security police data request.
The police sent a national security data request to the Alliance last month as the Commissioner of Police wrote in a letter that he had sufficient grounds to believe that the group was an agent working for foreign entities.
Chow, in response, refuted the police chief’s claims, and said that the Alliance “would not help the police spread fear.“
The group became the government’s latest target after pro-democracy protest coalition Civil Human Rights Front and the city’s largest teachers’ union Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union announced their decisions to disband.
The Alliance has been a key player in Hong Kong civil society, organising annual candlelight vigils every June 4 to call for democracy and commemorate victims of the bloody crackdown in Beijing.
HKFP has reached out to the police.