By HUIZHONG WU and KATIE TAM, Associated Press
HONG KONG (AP) — The group behind the annual Tiananmen Square memorial vigil in Hong Kong mentioned Sunday it won’t cooperate with police conducting a nationwide safety investigation into the group’s actions, calling it an abuse of energy.
Police notified the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China final month it was beneath investigation for working for overseas pursuits, an accusation it denied.
“This is a extremely unhealthy precedent of the nationwide safety (police) abusing the ability by arbitrarily labeling any civil group as a overseas agent,” Chow Han Tung, vice chairwoman of the alliance, mentioned at a news convention known as to deal with the police investigation.
“The alliance strongly denies that we’re any overseas brokers,” Chow mentioned. “We are a company that was based through the 1989 democratic motion, it was based by the Hong Kong folks.”
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The investigation is a part of a broad crackdown on Hong Kong civil society following mass pro-democracy protests in 2019. Authorities have tightened management over town with a sweeping nationwide safety regulation imposed by China’s ruling Communist Party that successfully criminalized opposition to the federal government. The regulation and different adjustments have pressured a number of civil organizations to disband or seen their leaders arrested.
The annual candlelight vigil honors the scholars who died when China’s navy violently suppressed huge pro-democracy protests in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989.
Hong Kong had been the one place in China allowed to carry such a commemoration, and in previous years, tens of 1000’s of individuals gathered in Victoria Park to honor the useless. Smaller crowds gathered this yr and in 2020 regardless of police banning the vigil, citing coronavirus restrictions on public gatherings.
Police had requested the alliance at hand over any details about teams they’d labored with abroad or in Taiwan, in addition to contact info. They didn’t point out what particular incidents prompted the investigation.
Chow mentioned the alliance has not been in a position to attain a consensus on whether or not to disband. It plans to carry a common meeting on Sept. 25 to debate the matter once more.
In August, the outstanding Hong Kong Civil Human Rights Front, made up of a slew of member organizations, mentioned it might now not function and selected to disband. The group organized giant protests in 2019.
More than 100 pro-democracy activists have been arrested beneath Hong Kong’s nationwide safety regulation, which outlaws subversion, secession, terrorism and overseas collusion to intervene within the metropolis’s affairs. Many different activists have gone into exile overseas.
Critics say the regulation restricts freedoms Hong Kong was promised it might preserve for 50 years following the territory’s 1997 handover to China from colonial Britain.
Wu reported from Taipei, Taiwan.
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