Tiananmen Square Vigil Organizers Jailed

Hong Kong activist Chow Hang-tung

Three former members of an organization that organized annual vigils to commemorate the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown in China have been incarcerated by a Hong Kong court.

A magistrate’s court sentenced Chow Hang-tung, 38, a famous Hong Kong pro-democracy activist and former vice-chairperson of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China. Tang Ngok-kwan and Tsui Hon-kong were the two others.

The three were sentenced to four and a half months in prison for failing to comply with a national security police information request. The prison sentence is less than the maximum imprisonment term of six months for the offense.

Chow was combative before sentence, criticizing what she termed the “political” nature of the case and the court’s decision to suppress critical details.

“We will continue doing what we have always done, that is to fight falsehood with truth, indignity with dignity, secrecy with openness, madness with reason, division with solidarity. We will fight these injustices wherever we must, be it on the streets, in the courtroom or from a prison cell,” she said.

Peter Law, the magistrate, repeatedly interrupted Chow’s statements made from the dock.

Law said that “national security is cardinally important to public interests and the whole nation”.

The dissolved Alliance was the primary organizer of the Hong Kong candlelight vigil for victims of the Tiananmen Square crackdown on June 4, 1989. It attracted tens of thousands of people annually, making it the largest event of its sort on Chinese territory.