Group that organised annual June 4 Tiananmen vigil in Hong Kong decides to disband
- The Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China becomes latest opposition group to dissolve
- Group’s call for end to ‘one-party dictatorship’ in mainland China was viewed by some pro-establishment figures as an act of subversion
A source said the standing committee of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China held a special meeting on Monday and recommended dissolving the embattled organisation.
The alliance will be disbanded if an emergency general meeting of member groups endorses that decision.
But although alliance vice-chairwoman Chow Hang-tung confirmed the meeting had taken place, she would not comment on whether a recommendation to disband had been made.
“All decisions will be taken by the alliance’s general meeting,” she said.
The alliance – the only group in China openly calling for an end to “one-party dictatorship” – has come under increasing political pressure since Beijing imposed the security law on the city on June 30 last year.
Security chief Chris Tang Ping-keung has suggested that the PTU and the front should be investigated for national security offences, and warned that disbanding would not protect them from prosecution.
Key members of several pro-opposition groups told the Post that middlemen with links to Beijing had advised them in recent months to dissolve on their own accord by the end of August or the central and Hong Kong governments would crack down on them later.
The alliance’s annual vigil at Victoria Park was the only event of its size on Chinese soil commemorating the crackdown on pro-democracy activists in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989.
The alliance, founded that year, had five goals: the release of dissidents, vindication of the 1989 movement, accountability for the crackdown, an end to one-party rule in mainland China and the building of a democratic country.
Pro-establishment figures earlier argued that, under the security law, any calls for an end to one-party rule would amount to subversion. But some legal experts have disagreed, saying the offence required a person to resort to the “use of force or threat of force or other unlawful means” to achieve the stated goal.
Beijing hinted this summer for the first time that the alliance’s signature slogan was problematic. The director of the central government’s liaison office, Luo Huining, told a forum on June 12 that those calling for an end to one-party rule were the “real enemies of Hong Kong”, although he did not name any entities or individuals.
Various member organisations began withdrawing from the alliance in April. In a statement issued on July 10, the alliance revealed that seven of its 14 committee members had decided to quit, including secretary Richard Tsoi Yiu-cheong.
Of the seven remaining, chairman Lee Cheuk-yan and vice-chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan are in jail. All staff members had been dismissed by the end of July, but the alliance said it would continue operating despite its drastically reduced numbers.