Hong Kong court convicts Tiananmen Sq. anniversary demonstrators

HONG KONG: Three Hong Kong activists from the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China have been convicted for not providing authorities with information on the group, in accordance with the national security law imposed by Beijing.

During a crackdown on the city’s pro-democracy movement following massive protests more than three years ago, Chow Hang-tung, Tang Ngok-kwan and Tsui Hon-kwong, who led the group before it was disbanded, were arrested in 2021.

The alliance was known for organizing candlelight vigils in Hong Kong on the anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protest and massacre.

The group was accused of being foreign agents by the police, which demanded information about its funding and potential connections to pro-democracy groups in other countries.

The defendants refused to comply with the order, claiming that the police were arbitrarily labeling pro-democracy groups as foreign agents.

Over the weekend, principal magistrate Peter Law ruled that the defendants must answer the notice served to them, which he called "sound and legal," and their non-compliance was unjustified.

"Such requirement for information was nothing like a broad-brush fishing exercise, but rather was constrained in terms of periods of time and nature. The police had taken a.self-restrained approach," he said.

The alliance’s annual vigil was the only large-scale public commemoration of the June 4, 1989 crackdown on Chinese soil and was attended by large crowds banned by authorities in 2020 under anti-COVID-19 pandemic measures.

Apart from the activists, pro-democracy publisher Jimmy Lai is also facing collusion charges under the national security law.