Chow Hang-tung (鄒幸彤)Comments Off on Chow Hang-tung (鄒幸彤)
Crime(s): “”; “inciting subversion”
Length of Punishment:
Dates of Arrest: June 4, 2021 for “”
Date of Arrest: September 8, 2021 for “inciting subversion”
On 4 June 2021, Chow Hang-tung was arrested for allegedly promoting an unauthorized assembly on the 32ndanniversary of the pro-democracy Tiananmen movement.
Every year since 1989, the Hong Kong Alliance has organized an annual Tiananmen Vigil in Hong Kong, to commemorate the hundreds, if not thousands, killed by the People’s Liberation Army in Beijing and other cities in 1989. The vigil was usually attended by which 100,000 to 200,000 people and served as a focal point of Hong Kong’s civil society.
Although the authorities banned the annual Tiananmen Vigil in 2021, ostensibly for COVID-19 reasons, Hang Tung Chow told the media that people should commemorate in their own ways. “Turn on the lights wherever you are – whether on your phone, candles or electronic candles,” she had posted on Facebook a day before her arrest.
Targeting the Hong Kong Alliance
On September 9, 2021, the Hong Kong justice secretary charged the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, the group’s chair Lee Cheuk-yan, and the vice-chairs Chow Hang-tung, and Albert Ho, with “inciting subversion.”
Police had arrested Chow on September 8, while Lee and Ho have been jailed for their activism since April and May, respectively. Chow, and four other leading members of the group, Tang Ngok-kwan, 53, Simon Leung, 36, Chan To-wai, 57, and Tsui Hon-kwong, 72, were separately charged with “failing to comply with notice to provide information.” All five were denied bail.
Their arrest stems from the Hong Kong Alliance’s decision not to cooperate with a police request made on August 25 to provide detailed information related to their interaction or material support from several foreign groups and unspecified “foreign or Taiwan political parties and other groups with a political purpose, including at their Hong Kong branches” dating back to 2014. The police charged them under Article 43(5) of the National Security Law (NSL), alleging that the Hong Kong Alliance and its members were “foreign agents”.
On December 13, 2021 Chow Hang-tung was sentenced to 12 months in prison for organizing and taking part in the June 4th Tiananmen Vigil earlier in 2020. Seven other people were sentenced as well. On January 4, 2022 she was sentenced to another 15 months for engaging in the Tiananmen vigil in 2021.
On May 31, Chow Hang-tung filled a legal bid to lift media restrictions concerning her national security case.
In August 2022, a Court of First Instance judge ruled that Hang Tung Chow’s case could go to the committal proceeding stage, which would allow Hang Tung Chow and the defense to cross examine the sufficiency or the prosecution’s evidence against her. Media restrictions were also lifted.
On September 1, Chow Hang-tung gave extensive testimony in the West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts in a preliminary inquiry.
“The government has kept identifying the Alliance as an “anti-China” group. But as far as my personal experience goes, having for years talked about June 4th and the tribulation of the [mainland] democracy advocates, the Alliance has in fact nurtured a group of people who care about China affairs and show love for this place, not at all inciting hatred or the so-called “anti-China” sentiment.”
The defense also showed clips from Tiananmen Vigils in Hong Kong from previous year, footage of the military crackdown in 1989, and videos of the Tiananmen Mothers.
On September 8, the preliminary inquiry resumed, and Chow Hang-tung’s barrister argued that she did not use violence, threat to use violence, or commit illegal acts, and that her speech should be protected under the Basic Law and Bill of Rights.
On September 9, 2022, the case against Hang Tung Chow was transferred to the High Court after the magistrate found that the preauction had sufficient evidence against her. At the court, she said:
Born on January 24, 1985, Chow Hang-tung studied geophysics at the university of Cambridge and law at the University of Hong Kong. She was active in several civil society organizations in Hong Kong, in addition to being a barrister.
In 2021, several state-run media reports made detailed allegations against the Hong Kong Alliance. And Xinhua, the official outlet of the Central Government, carried a statement by the Office for Safeguarding National Security of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region that supported the Hong Kong police’s actions against what it deemed an “anti-China” organization.
On September 9, 2021, the Hong Kong police shut down the Tiananmen Massacre Museum, which was run by the Hong Kong Alliance. Police dismantled the displays and hauled away historic photos and exhibits about the Tiananmen Massacre.