The United Nations expressed alarm over detentions in Hong Kong connected to the 34th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown. Meanwhile, China stated that the financial hub was progressing from “chaos” to prosperity. Hong Kong police detained 23 individuals yesterday for “breaching public peace” and arrested a 53 year old woman for “obstructing police officers” on the anniversary of the violent suppression of pro-democracy protests in Beijing in 1989.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights called for the release of anyone detained for “exercising freedom of expression and peaceful assembly” via Twitter. China’s Foreign Ministry, in a statement yesterday, claimed that “today’s Hong Kong is moving from chaos to stability and prosperity along the right track of ‘one country, two systems’.” A ministry spokesperson added that “external forces,” including the United States, should uphold international law and cease “futile political manipulation” over Hong Kong to contain China.
We are alarmed by reports of detentions in #HKSAR linked to the June 4 anniversary. We urge the release of anyone detained for exercising freedom of expression & peaceful assembly. We call on authorities to fully abide by obligations under Int’l Covenant on Civil & Political Rights.
— UN Human Rights (@UNHumanRights) June 4, 2023
Restrictions on speech and public protests in Hong Kong have suffocated what were once mass candlelight vigils commemorating the anniversary of the Tiananmen crackdown. This has left cities like Taipei, London, New York, and Berlin to preserve the memory of June 4. Hundreds of police officers conducted stop-and-search operations and deployed armoured vehicles near Victoria Park, the previous site of annual vigils.
The issue of legislation to safeguard national security in Hong Kong is purely China’s internal affair and does not tolerate any external interference. We will take necessary measures to counter erroneous acts of external interference. pic.twitter.com/uElrH0NU6Z
— Spokesperson发言人办公室 (@MFA_China) May 27, 2020
Hong Kong activists argue that such police action is part of a broader campaign by China to suppress dissent in the city, which was guaranteed continued freedoms for 50 years under a “one country, two systems” model when Britain handed it back in 1997. The United States Consulate posted a photograph on Facebook yesterday of candles arranged in all of its windows, with the caption “In memory.”
The Canadian consulate stated on its Facebook page that it joined the people of Hong Kong and others worldwide in “remembering the violent crackdown against unarmed and peaceful citizens” on June 4, 1989. It added that Canada stood with everyone “prevented from upholding their rights, including the right to assemble peacefully,” reports Channel News Asia.
Hong Kong public broadcaster RTHK reported that all 23 people detained yesterday for breaching the peace and public order offences were not arrested and were subsequently released.
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