Jimmy Lai, a Hong Kong media mogul, and two other notable campaigners were found guilty of participating in a vigil commemorating the Tiananmen Square tragedy. Jimmy Lai was convicted guilty of participating in the vigil in Tiananmen Square.
They were among the thousands who broke a restriction to attend a vigil remembering the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown in Beijing last June. It has resulted in the indictment of nearly two dozen politicians and activists.
Because they elected to contest their charges, the trio was the last to receive their verdict. They claimed throughout their trial that they lighted lights during the vigil in their personal capacity and that they did not push anyone to join the unofficial rally.
Lai was the creator of Hong Kong’s now-defunct Apple Daily newspaper and has been a vocal advocate of the city’s pro-democracy movement. He was imprisoned earlier this year for participating in pro-democracy demonstrations. Ho is a former journalist who became an opposition politician, while Chow is a former lawyer who served as vice chairwoman of the now-defunct Hong Kong Alliance, which organised the annual vigil.
Both are in custody and have been denied bail because they are facing various charges, some of which are covered by a tough national security law imposed by Beijing on Hong Kong last year.
Hong Kong used to be one of the few areas in China where the incident could still be honoured or even discussed; mainland China is extremely sensitive about the incident, prohibiting any commemorative ceremonies and removing any mentions from social media. However, for the first time in 30 years, Hong Kong authorities prohibited the vigil in 2020, citing Covid limitations. Activists accused officials of caving into Beijing’s efforts to silence pro-democracy voices.
Hundreds of thousands disregarded the restriction to join the vigil that night, tearing down barricades placed around Hong Kong’s Victoria Park.
The ban on the vigil was maintained this year, with a more subdued response.