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Tiananmen Massacre museum in HK closes down two days before event anniversary

Local authorities cited licensing ordinance from 1919 in closing down massacre museum

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On June 4, 2019, thousands of people attended a candlelight vigil for victims of the Tiananmen massacre, the last time the vigil was held.

On June 4, 2019, thousands of people attended a candlelight vigil for victims of the Tiananmen massacre, the last time the vigil was held. (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A museum commemorating the victims of the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre in Beijing closed down indefinitely on Wednesday (June 2), after local authorities claimed it lacked a permit.

The June 4 Museum, which had only reopened three days earlier after closing down in June of 2020 following the passage of Hong Kong’s national security law, was inspected by members of the city’s Food and Environmental Hygiene Department on Tuesday afternoon. The inspectors informed the museum that it lacked a public entertainment license, citing an ordinance from 1919, according to Nikkei.

The Hong Kong Alliance of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, which also organizes the annual Victoria Park vigil for victims of the massacre, said it was closing down the museum to protect staff and visitors amid the uncertain legal climate. It did, however, leave the door open to a possible reopening.

The museum had been supposed to remain open late on June 4 to commemorate the incident on its 32nd anniversary.

The Victoria Park gathering has also been canceled for the second year running, with the stated reason being COVID-19 concerns. Authorities have threatened prison sentences of up to five years for those who attend the event, while those who publicize it would be subject to a potential year of incarceration, according to the Hong Kong Free Press.

Organizers called on would-be attendees to commemorate the massacre "in their own ways, at an appropriate time and place, under legal, safe, peaceful and rational situations,” and some activists have suggested candles be lit in the windows of residences, per Nikkei.


Updated : 2021-06-16 00:35 GMT+08:00