Hong Kong democracy campaigner Chow Hang Tung's arrest is a warning to the world about China – Scotsman comment

Chow Hang Tung, a barrister in Hong Kong, predicted her own arrest.

Chow Hang Tung, of the pro-democracy Hong Kong Alliance, was arrested for promoting a candlelight vigil in memory of those killed by Chinese government forces in Beijing's Tiananmen Square in 1989 (Picture: Vincent Yu/AP)

“If I continue my activism in pushing for democracy in Hong Kong and China, surely they will come after me at some point, so it's sort of expected,” she said.

And so it was that yesterday morning she was detained for publicising a candlelight vigil to remember and mourn the hundreds, possibly thousands, of pro-democracy protesters who were killed by Chinese government forces on June 4, 1989, in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.

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After the vigil, which began in 1990 and had been an annual event, was banned for a second year, Chow had suggested people could commemorate the anniversary by lighting a candle wherever they were.

With no local cases of Covid for over six weeks and sustained action by the Hong Kong authorities to quell dissent using a recent national security law, suggestions that the ban was anything other than motivated by the need to cling to illegitimate power rang hollow.

Speaking to the BBC, Chow, vice-chairwoman of the pro-democracy Hong Kong Alliance, said: “For more than 30 years, Hongkongers have been using candlelight to teach the Chinese Communist Party that killing your people is useless and cannot solve any problem. It will only spur even more people to resist.”

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She added that she had never expected to become a high-profile figure in the group and had only become one because of the arrest of other leading members, including Lee Cheuk-yan and Albert Ho, who are both in prison for taking part in unauthorised assemblies in 2019. “I feel a bit lonely because many of my fellow activists are now behind bars,” she added.

The Chinese regime’s crushing of dissent in Hong Kong – even when expressed by the simple act of lighting a candle – is a warning to us all as this growing global superpower continues to gain influence throughout the world.

So it remains vitally important that Chow Hang Tung and other pro-democracy campaigners in both Hong Kong and China – who are demonstrating truly astonishing courage in daring to stand up to such a mighty opponent – know that they are not alone, and that the democratic world is watching.

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