Hong Kong police warn against unauthorized gatherings ahead of Tiananmen anniversary

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Chinese police, undercover police and soldiers guard the north gate of Tiananmen Square adorned with a giant portrait of former helmsman Mao Zedong in Beijing on June 6, 2020. File photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License picture

June 3 (UPI) — Hong Kong police appear set to impose a ban on gatherings marking the Saturday anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square uprising and the Chinese government’s violent crackdown on that protest.

At a Thursday press briefing in Wan Chai, China, police said online posts appeared to be inciting others to attend an unauthorized rally marking the Tiananmen anniversary in Causeway Bay on Saturday, reports Hong Kong Free Press.

“If you stay with a group of people, in the same place, at the same time, with a common objective, to express certain opinions, that already meets the definition of a meeting. And depending on the number of people at the scene, who may contravene offenses including unauthorized assembly or by virtue of the acts may also contravene other more serious offences,” said police spokesman Chief Superintendent Liauw Ka-kei.

Last year, Hong Kong banned residents from attending a candlelight vigil to remember those killed protesting in Tiananmen Square.

In December 2021, a monument mourning those killed in the Tiananmen Massacre was removed overnight by the University of Hong Kong.

Civilian protesters clashed with Chinese army tanks in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square during a pro-democracy demonstration in 1989.

Hundreds of thousands of people defied martial law and stormed Tiananmen Square after a nighttime assault aimed at breaking up the protest failed. The troops again attacked the demonstration and dispersed it.

Troops backed by tanks and armored cars fought pitched battles with thousands of pro-democracy civilians in what became a citywide insurgency, killing 176 and injuring 464, according to witnesses and sources. hospital officials at the time.

According to the South China Morning Post, new Chinese history textbooks downplay the Tiananmen story, “compressing the details of the Tiananmen Square crackdown” without mentioning memorial vigils.

China’s security state has stepped up efforts to prevent dissent before it can take hold, according to The Washington Post.

Sara H. Byrd