Protesters from the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China gathered at Hong Kong MTR station on Monday to voice opposition to the government’s Palace Museum project.
Over 30 protesters were flanked by around a dozen MTR staff members, who linked hands to form a human chain to surround the group.
Demonstrators chanted: “We want democracy in China now. Release Liu Xiaobo. Stop persecuting Liu Xia.” and “End one party rule. Build a democratic China. Vindicate 1989 democratic movement. Hold those ordered the massacre responsible.”
They also held a banner below an Imperial Palace poster that read: “Mama, I am hungry but I can’t eat.” The banner was a replica of one used by student hunger strikers during the 1989 movement.
The campaign is to promote a HK$3.8 million television programme about the Palace Museum which launched over weekend. The show is airing amid recent controversy surrounding a local version of the museum set to be built at the West Kowloon Cultural District.
Hong Kong Alliance volunteer Fung Ka-keung said: “what I remember after seeing this is the Tiananmen massacre in 1989… we must not forget what happened.”
Fung, also the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union, called the surprise announcement of the project “shocking” and “not democratic at all,” after it was approved without any public consultation. Fung said that other “cultural and historical” artefacts could have been highlighted.
Also present at the protest were members of Financier Conscience, a group composed of workers from the Hong Kong Financial Industry. Edward Chan criticised Chief Secretary Carrie Lam for using backhanded tactics and thinking “she can just make a decision by herself.”
The group said that it did not particularly take issue with the museum itself, but called for “transparency of government operations.”
Alliance Secretary Lee Cheuk-yan said: “We will never forget on June 4, tanks entered the Tiananmen Square, shot unarmed students and citizens, ran over many bodies”
“We remember after 27 years, the wish of the Tiananmen mothers – to hold those who ordered the massacre responsible – has yet to be realised… As we come to this so-called former palace exhibition, what we show are not historical artefacts, but the many photos at that time from our June 4 memorial museum.”
Albert Ho Chun-yan, the chairman of the Alliance, said people should not only remember the glorious side of China when looking at the former palace: “We absolutely cannot forget our nation’s tragic and dark history – the crackdown of the 1989 democratic movement,” he said.
On Friday evening, a red hand-print appeared on the promotional ads, located between the Central and Hong Kong stations. The MTR Corporation told HKFP that it had contacted the police in response.
The posters will be displayed until January 24.
Additional reporting: Kris Cheng, Tom Grundy.