June 4 museum to open in Hong Kong in April in time for 30th anniversary of Tiananmen crackdown
- The museum, operated by the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, will be located in Mong Kok
- The alliance intends to hold seminars to mark the commemoration but may be forced to host some in Taipei if some guests are barred from Hong Kong
A new June 4 museum will open in April in Hong Kong to mark the 30th anniversary of Beijing’s 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, as the organiser of the annual vigil has decided to purchase a property for the museum with HK$8 million (US$1 million).
The Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China held an annual meeting on Sunday and the plan of purchase was fully endorsed by the members attended.
The new museum will occupy an entire floor of a commercial building in Mong Kok, with an area of 1,100 square feet. Richard Tsoi Yiu-cheong, the vice-chairman of the alliance, said they had liaised with the seller, the Hong Kong Christian Institute, and a deal would be sealed soon.
“It is expected that the unit will become vacant by the end of January. Renovation works will then start and the new museum is targeted to open in mid-April,” Tsoi said on Monday. “We hope the new museum can offer good opportunities to the new generation to know more about the history, and how Hong Kong has assisted democratic movements on the mainland.”
The alliance has assets worth HK$11.7 million (US$1.5 million), with donations received over the past year of HK$3 million (US$384,000).
As the renovation fee would eat up HK$1 million, Tsoi said the alliance aimed to raise HK$2 million to $3 million in the coming year for the new museum’s operating costs.
The alliance has had a bumpy ride in recent years in seeking a permanent location for the June 4 Museum, to commemorate the bloody 1989 crackdown on the student-led democracy movement in Tiananmen Square, in which hundreds were reported killed.
In 2014, the alliance bought a unit in the Foo Hoo Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui to house the museum. However, over the next two years the group was caught up in lawsuits with the commercial centre’s owners’ corporation over the use of the space.
The alliance sold the property in 2016, and set up temporary museums in the Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre in Shek Kip Mei for a short period in late 2017 and early 2018.
Tsoi said the alliance would hold a series of seminars to mark the 30th anniversary next year, with scholars and student leaders of the time as guests.
“As it is expected that some guests, like Wang Dan, would be barred from entering Hong Kong, we will likely hold a two-day seminar in Taipei in May,” he said.
Wang was a former leader of the 1989 student-led democracy movement in China. As an exiled dissident, he set up a think tank, Dialogue China, in June, pushing for a democratic transition in China.