Hong Kong justice is relentless. Two years after the events, she sentenced on Thursday, December 9 the famous press boss Jimmy Lai, 74, and two other major pro-democracy figures, journalist Gwyneth Ho and human rights lawyer Chow Hang-tung . They were found guilty of illegal assembly during the commemorative vigil on June 4, 2020, in memory of the massacre of students in Tian An Men Square in Beijing in 1989. Beijing had decided to ban this gathering in order to erase the Hong Kong collective memory of the military repression which left between a thousand and two thousand dead.
“The Hong Kong government has once again flouted international law by condemning activists simply for participating in a peaceful vigil,” reacted on his Twitter account Amnesty International, which decided last month to close its office in Hong Kong because of the strong political pressure. “People should be free to mourn and peacefully remember the victims of the Tian An Men crackdown,” added the NGO.
For more than three decades, every June 4, tens of thousands of people gathered in Victoria Park, in Causeway Bay, in homage to the victims. Faced with the total censorship of June 4, 1989 in mainland China, these gatherings had become one of the symbols of political freedoms enjoyed by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR).
Today, after Beijing imposed the National Security Law on 1er July 2020, political freedoms no longer exist and Hong Kong increasingly looks like any other Chinese city, under Beijing’s direct control. A few months ago, 16 politicians, including Joshua Wong, the best-known face of the Hong Kong protest, were sentenced to six to ten months in prison for their participation in this same vigil in 2020.
The convictions of Lai, Chow and Ho (their sentences will be pronounced on Monday, December 13) come ten days before the legislative elections considered by the opposition as a “Masquerade” since no Democratic candidate has the right to run for it. Most have not been judged enough “Patriots”, some have had to go into exile and others are in prison.
That’s why dissent in exile abroad has called on Hong Kongers to boycott the Legislative Council poll, defying a new law that clamps down on such incitement. Former student leader Nathan Law, from London, called the vote “Selection and not election”. He is participating this Friday, December 10 in the summit for democracy organized by Joe Biden. The official China New Agency called it “Traitor” doomed to be “Nailed to the pillory of historical shame”.