A group of protesters marched to Beijing’s office in Hong Kong on Thursday to show solidarity with four men who were on trial for commemorating the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown.
In 2016, the Chinese government arrested Fu Hailu, Zhang Jinyong, Luo Fuyu and Chen Bing in connection with bottles of baijiu bearing the label “Ba Jiu Liu Si,” meaning eight nine six four – the date of the June 4 massacre. They were charged with “inciting subversion of state power” in July that year, but their trial only took place at the Chengdu Intermediate People’s Court this week.
Zhang and Luo were each handed a three-year prison term, suspended for four years. Fu received a three-year prison term, which was suspended for five years.
On Thursday, the last of the defendants Chen was given a three-and-a-half-year jail sentence with no suspension.
In Hong Kong, about two dozen supporters of the jailed activists held a protest march ending at the China Liaison Office in Sai Wan. The event was led by the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China (HK Alliance), a group that organises commemorative events for the Tiananmen massacre.
【悼念「六四」無罪 ⽀持酒案 4 君⼦】⽇期：2019 年4⽉4⽇（星期四）時間：中午12時地點：⻄區警署集合，遊⾏到中聯辦https://www.facebook.com/177770798924026/posts/2371125842921833/直播中…
Posted by 香港市民支援愛國民主運動聯合會 Hong Kong Alliance on Wednesday, 3 April 2019
The Tiananmen massacre ended months of student-led demonstrations in China. It is estimated that hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people died when the People’s Liberation Army was deployed to crack down on protesters in Beijing.
Trial ‘just a show’
“It is no crime to commemorate June 4th victims! It is no crime to demand accountability for the bloody crackdown!” the protesters chanted.
In a statement, the protesters said that the suspended sentences were not truly a gesture of mercy, because the men have already been detained for nearly three years before trial. They also noted that the men were cut off from outside contact during detention.
“The so-called open trial was just a show. Not only were the defendants’ friends unable to attend the trial, even foreign diplomatic representatives… were unable to get in,” said HK Alliance Vice-president Chow Hang-tung.
Protesters then stuck memos and posters onto the entrance of the China Liaison Office. Lee Cheuk-yan also appeared in a man-sized costume of the liquor bottle.
Other attendees at the march included pro-democracy figures such as Albert Ho, “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung, Bull Tsang, Avery Ng and Raphael Wong.
On Wednesday, the Legislative Council voted down a non-binding motion urging for “the June 4 incident be not forgotten and the 1989 pro-democracy movement be vindicated.”
The June 4 motion has been raised every year by pro-democracy legislators since 1997, but has never been passed except in its first year.
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