Hong Kong: Overturning Chow Hang-tung acquittal for Tiananmen vigil ‘another blow’ to rule of law

© Alex ChanTszYuk

Hong Kong activist and lawyer faces a potential life prison sentence

‘The Hong Kong authorities must drop all charges against Chow Hang-tung, ensure she is free from torture and other ill-treatment and release her’ - Sarah Brooks

Responding to Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal overturning the acquittal of activist Chow Hang-tung on charges related to the city’s vigil marking the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown, Sarah Brooks, Amnesty International’s China Director, said:

“Hong Kong’s top court has levelled another blow to the rule of law in the city.

“The disappointing ruling announced today is the latest injustice against Chow Hang-tung, who remains unjustly detained on separate charges under the National Security Law for her entirely peaceful actions.

“The Hong Kong authorities must drop all charges against her, ensure she is free from torture and other ill-treatment and release her.

“The Hong Kong authorities unlawfully issued a blanket ban on the 2021 Tiananmen vigil. With this ruling, we worry police will enjoy even greater leeway to restrict peaceful assemblies. Peaceful protest is not a crime.”

Today’s court ruling

Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal today reinstated Chow Hang-tung’s conviction for “inciting others to take part in an unauthorised assembly” during the city’s 2021 Tiananmen vigil, after the prosecution had appealed the December 2022 ruling that acquitted her of the charge.

Lawyer Chow Hang-tung is a former leader of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, which disbanded after authorities used the annual Tiananmen candlelight vigil it had organised for 30 years as evidence of the group “endangering national security”. Along with other members of the group, Chow Hang-tung was charged with “inciting subversion” under Hong Kong’s National Security Law, for which she faces a potential life prison sentence.

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