Chow Hang Tung, a Hong Kong activist, was freed on bond on Saturday, a day after she was arrested on suspicion of organising an illegal gathering to commemorate the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in Beijing.
Chow, vice-chairperson of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, was detained early Friday morning on suspicion of promoting an unlawful assembly.
“There’s no logic in that. It’s a completely absurd charge, (a) complete abuse of power. I reject all the allegation,” she told reporters outside the police station.
The ban on the vigil and at least six arrests came amid growing concern in the pro-democracy movement and internationally about the suppression of the semi-autonomous city’s traditional freedoms, notably a national security law imposed by Beijing last year.
“I want to tell all who participated in this suppression of the Tiananmen remembrance event this year…don’t hide behind the technical provision of the public order ordinance anymore,” Chow said.
“Open your eyes and see what you are actually doing, what you are actually doing is to cover up the crime of the killers in 1989.”
The authorities sealed off Victoria Park, the location of the world’s largest Tiananmen Square vigils for more than three decades, on Friday to enforce a two-year prohibition on the annual gathering owing to coronavirus restrictions.
Some churches opened their doors for memorial services for the Tiananmen Square casualties, with people crowding the venues in fear of being detained on the streets. Candles shone in the windows of the city’s US embassy and European Union headquarters, in an extraordinary diplomatic gesture in the midst of the police ban on the vigil.
Before her arrest, Chow told Reuters that June 4 was a test for Hong Kong “of whether we can defend our bottom line of morality.”
“As long as they haven’t said candles are illegal, we will light a candle,” she said.
Although she could not light a candle while in detention, she said she fasted during her detention.
Chow was released with cash bail HK$10,000 and due to report to the police station on July 5.
Lee Cheuk-yan, the alliance’s chairperson, is in jail for an illegal assembly in 2019. Chow herself is facing a charge of inciting and participating in an illegal assembly on June 4 last year.