Conflicts & War

Hong Kong prepares 3,000 policemen to prevent Tiananmen vigils, shuts museum

Beijing, Jun 2 (EFE).- Hong Kong Police plan to have 3,000 anti-riot officers on duty to prevent illegal gatherings Thursday in memory of the 32nd anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre, according to Hong Kong daily South China Morning Post.

The newspaper said Wednesday it will be the largest preventive deployment of agents so far this year.

Among the places that will have the greatest surveillance will be Victoria Park (traditional place of congregation for the Tiananmen vigil in Hong Kong) and the surroundings of the Museum of the 4th of June, which temporarily closed three days after its reopening.

For the second consecutive year, the massive vigil called by the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Democratic Patriotic Movements of China did not have the approval of authorities, who cited the coronavirus pandemic for the ban.

Despite last year’s ban, some 20,000 people gathered in Victoria Park, after which 26 activists and opponents were arrested, with several of them having already been sentenced to prison terms.

The Tiananmen demonstrations began in mid-April 1989 to mourn the then recently deceased former general secretary of the Communist Party of China Hu Yaobang. Participants were initially university students calling for political reform and the end of the corruption unleashed with the economic opening that began in the previous decade.

The repression of these protests, which gradually joined workers and even Chinese officials, and which ended up calling for the democratization of the regime, left a still unknown number of protesters dead at the hands of the army, whose troops also suffered several casualties.

The June Fourth Museum was closed Tuesday, three days after its reopening, due to alleged problems with licenses, according to officials.

The democratic alliance, responsible for the museum, said in a Wednesday statement that the center received the unprecedented visit of officials from the department of food and environmental hygiene, who said the museum lacked the proper license to operate.

Museum managers decided “that legal advice is needed on this matter,” as well as “the temporary closure, until further notice” in order to “protect the safety of employees and visitors” in the middle of a “difficult political situation.”

According to the alliance, more than 550 people visited the museum during the three days it was open.

The alliance had announced the reopening Sunday, after being forced to close its doors and change headquarters on several occasions in the last nine years partly due to political pressure, but also due to pandemic issues.

The museum exhibits photographs taken in 1989, banners used in the demonstrations and accessories dressed by the retaliated protesters, as well as miniature replicas of the Goddess of Democracy. It boasts a 10-meter high statue raised by Fine Arts students in front of the portrait of Chairman Mao Zedong in Tiananmen that was later run over by tanks.

This year, it hosted a photographic exhibition entitled “The 1989 Democratic Movement and Hong Kong,” which shows images of the massive vigils on Jun. 4, 1989 in Hong Kong, banned since 2020 under the pretext of the pandemic situation.

There was also a section in which flowers could be placed to remember the deceased, of which there is no official record after 32 years.

Given the sensitivity of the subject — everything related to the Tiananmen massacre is heavily censored by Beijing — the museum has been threatened on several occasions. EFE


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