Hong Kong court jails 3 members of Tiananmen vigil group

HONG KONG: Three former members of a Hong Kong group that organised annual vigils to mark China’s 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, were jailed on Saturday (Mar 11) for four-and-a-half months for not complying with a national security police request for information.

Chow Hang-tung, 38, a prominent Hong Kong pro-democracy activist and former vice-chairperson of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, was among those convicted by a magistrate’s court.

The two others were Tang Ngok-kwan and Tsui Hon-kwong.

The magistrate, Peter Law, said “national security is cardinally important to public interests and the whole nation”, while imposing a custodial sentence that fell short of the six months maximum jail term for the charge.

The now-disbanded Alliance was the main organiser of Hong Kong’s Jun 4 candlelight vigil for victims of China’s Tiananmen Square crackdown. Every year it drew tens of thousands of people in the largest public commemoration of its kind on Chinese soil.

Some key details of the case, including the overseas organisations and individuals alleged to have ties to the Alliance were redacted, after the prosecution applied for “Public Interest Immunity”.

Speaking before sentencing, Chow was defiant, while criticising what she described as the “political” nature of the case, and the decision of the court to withhold key facts.

“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,” said Chow from the dock, in a speech that was interrupted several times by Law.

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