The Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China will be questioned by police about its membership and funding.
Hong Kong police have opened an inquiry into the pro-democracy organization that organizes the city’s yearly event to remember those killed in China’s crackdown on protestors in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989.
According to a copy of the letter sent to reporters by the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, the police’s national security unit accused the group of colluding with foreign forces and demanded information about its membership, finances, and activities by September 7.
Several individuals and organizations that are members of the alliance received similar letters, according to the group.
A request for comment from the police was not immediately returned.
The letters accused the alliance of acting as a “foreign agent” and warned that failing to give the information by the deadline might result in a punishment of 100,000 Hong Kong dollars ($12,846) and six months in prison.
The group said in July that it had laid off staff members to ensure their safety and that half of its committee members had resigned.
“It’s ridiculous that the police accused the alliance of being an agent of foreign forces,” alliance Vice-Chairwoman Chow Hang Tung told the Reuters news agency.
“It has nothing to do with any foreign agents nor has it received any instructions from foreign countries.”
Alliance leaders Albert Ho and Lee Cheuk-yan are already in jail for their roles in anti-government protests that roiled the city in 2019.
Arrests, imprisonment and exile
The probe comes only days after the Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF), the organization that organizes Hong Kong’s annual July 1 event and mobilized millions to participate in street protests in 2019, disbanded following a police investigation.
It’s also the latest setback for the opposition movement, which has been under siege since Beijing enacted a national security law last year that punishes crimes like cooperation with up to life in prison.
Hundreds of opposition politicians and activists have been arrested, imprisoned, or fled to exile since then.
After being chastised by Chinese official media, civil society organizations such as the Professional Teachers’ Union have disbanded.
The law’s critics claim it is being used to suppress dissent, a charge Beijing and Hong Kong deny.
The police investigation casts doubt on the future of the June 4 march in Hong Kong, where tens of thousands of people are expected to gather to light candles in memory of pro-democracy protesters slain by Chinese military in Beijing.
Authorities banned it this year due to coronavirus concerns, and thousands of police officers were deployed across the city to prevent people from congregating.
Meanwhile, the Hong Kong Free Press reported that University of Hong Kong (HKU) administration have questioned hundreds of student leaders about their roles in a contentious meeting that passed a now-retracted motion expressing sympathy for a man who stabbed a police officer.
Despite retracting the proposal, apologizing, and stepping down, four council members were detained and charged with promoting “terrorist” under the national security statute.
The students were “invited” to reply to questions about their presence at the meeting and whether they voted, according to the report.
A total of 32 students are said to have attended the meeting, which passed a resolution expressing “great grief” over Leung Kin-death. fai’s
During an incident near Causeway Bay on July 1, Leung critically injured a police officer before stabbing himself to death.
The resolution, which accused the students of “whitewashing violence,” was attacked by the Hong Kong government and the university administration.
Source: AL JAZEERA