June 4 museum accuses govt of ‘selective enforcement’

Organisers of the June 4 candlelight vigil on Thursday accused authorities of selective enforcement, after officials alleged their museum to commemorate the Tiananmen Square massacre didn’t have the required licence.

A core member of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China said it was the 10th time they had put on the exhibition, and authorities had never checked the museum’s licence in the past.

“We started holding the exhibition back in 2012 in various places … but we never had this experience of having officials to inspect the licence,” Mak Hoi-wah told an RTHK radio programme.

“We have been operating like this in the past 10 years and now all of a sudden they are enforcing the law. Is this selective law enforcement?”

Mak said they were still seeking legal advice, and they were setting up a website to display items related to the bloody crackdown on protesters in 1989.

But he said it’s still important to have a physical museum.

The museum was opened on Sunday – but organisers closed it on Wednesday, a day after officials from the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department visited the premises in Mong Kok.

The department accused organisers of operating the museum as a place of public entertainment without the required licence.

Executive Councillor Ronny Tong said it was prudent for the alliance to close the museum and clarify legal issues. He also said the problem could not be solved by turning the museum into a private club.

He warned people against planning to split up and gather in different places on Friday night to mark the 32nd anniversary of the 1989 crackdown, as it could be against the law.

The annual candlelight vigil in Victoria Park has been banned by police for a second year in a row, with officials citing risks posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Chanting slogans like “ending one-party rule” in a memorial is not necessary, Tong said, because it risks breaking the national security law and if people were arrested they wouldn’t receive any sympathy.