Do not “test” the police with memorials to the Tiananmen Massacre

Hong Kong police on Thursday warned the public against “testing” police officers with “unauthorized gatherings” on the upcoming anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, the Hong Kong Free Press (HKFP) reported.

“Try not to test the limits … as well as test the resolve or our commitment to law enforcement in this operation,” Hong Kong Police Senior Superintendent Liauw Ka-kei told reporters on June 2.

“The senior official said Saturday’s police actions were ‘proportionate,’ such as advising and warning people about more stringent actions like arrests,” the HKFP said.

Police officers stop and search a pedestrian on a street ahead of the 33rd anniversary of the Tiananmen Square incident June 3, 2022 in Hong Kong, China. (Anthony Kwan/Getty Images)

Liauw pointed to the Hong Kong government’s blanket ban this year on all public gatherings commemorating the Chinese government’s mass killing of student protesters on June 4, 1989 in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. On its anniversary, a commemoration of the event was held in Hong Kong’s Victoria Park, a tradition that has been going on for decades. The Hong Kong government banned the mass candlelight vigil in 2020 and 2021, citing an alleged public health risk caused by the Chinese coronavirus pandemic. This health-related ban remains in effect this year, meaning all large outdoor gatherings — including the Tiananmen Square vigil — are banned.

Liauw on June 2 gave a detailed explanation of the type of outdoor activities his police would be doing on June 4, saying “it’s perfectly fine” for Hong Kongers with a “real” recreational purpose that day to enter Victoria Park.

Police officers cordon off Victoria Park ahead of the 33rd anniversary of the Tiananmen Massacre June 3, 2022 in Hong Kong, China.  Hong Kong police have warned citizens that the Tiananmen Square massacre will break the law days before the 33rd anniversary of the bloody crackdown.  (Photo by Louise Delmotte/Getty Images)

Police officers cordon off Victoria Park ahead of the 33rd anniversary of the Tiananmen Massacre June 3, 2022 in Hong Kong, China. (Louise Delmotte/Getty Images)

The police commissioner further said:

But as I must stress, even if you are alone and then come to Victoria Park… if you are staying with a group of people together in the same place at the same time to express a common goal of certain views, it already meets the definition of a meeting.

And depending on the number of people at the crime scene who may commit offenses including unauthorized assembly or as a result of the offenses, other more serious offenses may also be committed.

The Chinese Communist Party refuses to fully acknowledge the mass casualties caused by the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre and often cracks down on public memories of the event in China. Since the summer of 2020, when the Chinese Communist Party successfully quashed a pro-democracy movement in the city that began in 2019, pro-Beijing politicians have increasingly taken top posts in Hong Kong’s government in Hong Kong on June 30, 2020, creating four new crimes: Secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. Hong Kong police effectively wiped out the city’s pro-democracy movement by arresting its participants and charging them with the city’s new national security crimes.

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