Tiananmen vigil goes on in Hong Kong as security law looms

Domestic News

Thousands in Hong Kong attended the city’s annual vigil marking 31 years since the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown last Thursday. Police had earlier announced a ban on public gatherings due to COVID-19, but in the end they did not enforce that ban.

Thousands in Hong Kong attended the city’s annual vigil marking 31 years since the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown last Thursday. Police had earlier announced a ban on public gatherings due to COVID-19, but in the end they did not enforce that ban.

The police acted with restraint because they “understand that the June 4 commemoration is a symbolic and historical event, and it has been peaceful in the past,” according to a source cited by the South China Morning Post.

Hong Kong’s mostly pro-Beijing legislature had less restraint: On June 4, it passed a national anthem law that penalizes Hong Kongers who “insult” China’s national anthem with up to three years in prison and a maximum fine of 50,000 Hong Kong dollars ($6,450), NPR reported.

Hong Kong is also awaiting implementation of a national security law that we have called a death blow to Hong Kong’s autonomy. The U.S. State Department has updated its travel advisory for Hong Kong to say that because of the impending law, “U.S. citizens traveling or residing in Hong Kong may be subject to increased levels of surveillance, as well as arbitrary enforcement of laws for purposes other than maintaining law and order.”

Companies are being pressured to pledge support for the national security law, per the Hong Kong Free Press: “British multinational banks HSBC, Standard Chartered, and conglomerate Jardine Matheson group have publicly supported Beijing’s plan to promulgate national security laws in Hong Kong. It came after Chinese state media warned HSBC that it would ‘lose all its clients’ if it stayed silent on the issue.”