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Hong Kong activist sentenced to 15 months in prison over unauthorized Tiananmen Square vigil

Chow Hang-tung, a Hong Kong pro-democracy activist, was sentenced to 15 months in prison on Tuesday. Chow allegedly organized an unauthorized vigil to commemorate the victims of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. Chow served as the vice charwoman of the now-dissolved Hong Kong Alliance, which has held the same candlelight vigil every year on the anniversary of the bloody conflict since 1990. This marks Chow’s second conviction for organizing banned vigils. For almost three decades, Hong Kong has been the only area in which individuals were allowed to publicly commemorate the events in Tiananmen square. However, due to the national security law imposed on Hong Kong, the vigils have been suppressed by Chinese authorities.

For the past two years, the event has been banned due to Covid-19 restrictions. However, despite the bans, small crowds have participated in the event for the past two years. Chow was arrested on the morning of June 4 last year and later charged with incitement to knowingly take part in an unauthorized assembly. Chow was found guilty on Tuesday. In the months leading up to the anniversary, the Hong Kong Alliance allegedly submitted a request to hold the vigil, which was rejected by police due to health and safety concerns. Despite the decision, Chow allegedly used social media to incite others to join the anniversary vigil.

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