Hong Kong’s memorial museum dedicated to the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre will close indefinitely from Tuesday, the museum’s organiser has confirmed.
The museum is run by the Hong Kong Alliance for Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, which also organises the annual Tiananmen vigil at Victoria Park. The Alliance announced the museum’s coming closure earlier this year as it can no longer handle legal pressure from the landlord and other property owners in the same building.
“I tend to believe they are politically motivated… the other side seem to have unlimited resources,” said lawmaker Albert Ho, chairman of the Alliance, upon announcing the museum’s closure in April 2016.
The Alliance said on Monday that it is seeking to relocate for further expansion, while planning to raise funds for the operation through crowdfunding.
Since it was launched, the museum has received complaints from the landlord that it was violating the property deed, which states that the premises should only be used as an office. In the past, the landlord attempted to get an injunction on the museum, and demanded financial compensation from the organisers.
In June 2015, the building management demanded that all visitors to the museum register their personal information upon arrival. According to the international news agency Agence France-Presse, venue organisers claimed visitors felt “harassed” by security guards who asked them to present their personal information.
A pro-Beijing group protested at the museum when it first opened, claiming that it presented a skewed version of the crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in 1989.
The museum has attracted more than 20,000 visitors since it opened in 2014, particularly tourists from China where all reference to the Tiananmen crackdown on pro-democracy protesters is banned. The crackdown in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989, is branded a “counterrevolutionary rebellion” by Chinese authorities, who to this day have never given an official death toll for the event.