The “nice” Communism of China, if such a thing ever existed, has fallen away and old-fashioned totalitarianism is back in Vogue in the Middle Kingdom.
Before last year, annual candlelight vigils had been lawfully held in Hong Kong since 1990, a year after soldiers and tanks rolled through Tiananmen Square in the Chinese capital and quashed a student-led protest for democratic reforms. Myriad questions still surround the Chinese government’s handling of the crackdown, which is said to have resulted in the deaths of hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of demonstrators and several soldiers.
Members of the public and civil servants who participate in next month’s memorial will be classified as “non-patriots,” and serving councilors or legislators face “immediate disqualification,” said HK01’s report, which cited persons with knowledge of the matter.
It said Hong Kong’s newly amended Basic Law—the city’s mini-constitution—means those who take part in the candlelight vigil may fail to meet the government’s “loyalty” requirement and have “no political future” in the semi-autonomous territory.
“Beijing will take unprecedented heavy-handed measures to handle matters” related to the event, which, like last year, will be considered an “unauthorized gathering,” it added. A heavy police presence is expected, as are “mass arrests” and prosecutions, the website said.
The strict enforcement by Hong Kong authorities is believed to be linked to upcoming events in Beijing, where Chinese leader Xi Jinping plans to lead the country in a landmark celebration for the centennial of the Communist Party of China on July 1.