Jimmy Lai, 2 Other Hong Kong Activists Convicted Over Tiananmen Square Massacre Vigil

By Mimi Nguyen Ly
Mimi Nguyen Ly
Mimi Nguyen Ly
Mimi Nguyen Ly covers world news with a focus on U.S. news. Contact her at mimi.nl@epochtimes.com
December 8, 2021 Updated: December 9, 2021

Hong Kong pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai and two other prominent pro-democracy activists were convicted on Dec 9 for their participation in a Tiananmen vigil in June 2020.

Lai, as well as human rights attorney Chow Hang-tung and former opposition politician and former journalist Gwyneth Ho, were found guilty of unauthorized assembly charges over the vigil.

Hong Kong normally holds the world’s largest annual vigil on June 4 to commemorate the hundreds or potentially thousands of innocent lives lost on June 3 and 4, 1989, after the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) ordered its troops to open fire on pro-democracy activists at and around Tiananmen Square in Beijing.

The three had pleaded not guilty to having incited others to participate in the event. Thousands of locals had defied the ban and gathered for the June 4, 2020, vigil.

The event was banned in 2020 and 2021 by Hong Kong police, citing restrictions related to the CCP virus, which causes the disease COVID-19. In 2021, the CCP imposed a ban on all Tiananmen Square massacre commemorations in Hong Kong or Macau.

Lai, Chow, and Ho are already behind bars, alongside dozens of other activists, facing separate charges under Hong Kong’s national security law, which was imposed by Beijing in mid-2020 following large-scale democracy protests in the Chinese-ruled territory.

Dozens of activists have been arrested and jailed or have fled Hong Kong since then.

Chow Hang Tung, vice chairwoman of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of the Democratic Patriotic Movements of China poses after an interview in Hong Kong on May 24, 2021. (Vincent Yu/AP Photo)

Chow was arrested in June and charged with subversion, a crime under the national security law, for her involvement in organizing the Tiananmen vigil.

Ho was arrested in January alongside 52 other pro-democracy activists and charged with “subversion” under Article 22 of the national security law for participating in the 2020 Hong Kong pro-democracy primaries in July 2020.

Lai, who was arrested in August 2020 on allegations of having violated the national security law, owned Apple Daily, a widely-read pro-democracy tabloid newspaper that was critical of the CCP.

Apple Daily
A man gestures as he brings copies of the final edition of Apple Daily, published by Next Digital, to a newsstand in Hong Kong on June 24, 2021. (Lam Yik/Reuters)

The paper closed in June after Hong Kong police raided its properties. Next Digital, the paper’s parent company, announced in September that it was going into liquidation. The company’s assets had been frozen as part of a national security investigation.

Later in September, Lai was awarded the 33rd annual Liberty Medal by the National Constitution Center for his courage and conviction in exercising freedom of speech, nonviolent resistance, and peaceful dissent. He was previously awarded the Freedom of Press Award by Reporters Without Borders in December 2020.

Lily Sun contributed to this report.

Mimi Nguyen Ly
Mimi Nguyen Ly covers world news with a focus on U.S. news. Contact her at mimi.nl@epochtimes.com