Amnesty demand the release of Chow Hang-Tung

Amnesty demand the release of Chow Hang-Tung

Peaceful protesters are holding blank pieces of paper, chanting slogans, and engaging in many forms of creative dissent in the streets – quickly morphing into the loudest anti-government demonstrations seen in the country since the Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989. “But as citizens gather in the thousands, one prominent voice is missing from the streets: Chow Hang-Tung’s,” says Rose Kulak, Australia Amnesty International Campaigner.

In June of 1989, hundreds – possibly thousands – of people were killed in the streets around Tiananmen Square, Beijing, as troops opened fire, killing protesters peacefully calling for economic and social reforms.

Fast forward 32 years later to June 2021, Chow was arrested and charged with “advertising or publicising unauthorised assembly” for encouraging people to light candles and commemorate these victims. Before her arrest, Chow was the vice-chairperson of the Hong Kong Alliance – the organiser of the world’s biggest candlelit vigil, commemorating victims of the Tiananmen crackdown.

Sadly, China’s playbook is all too predictable. It is virtually impossible for people in China to protest peacefully without facing harassment and prosecution. Authorities have shown zero tolerance to opposition, especially in the last 10 years.

But like those taking to the streets back then, and those taking to the streets right now – Chow’s bravery continues to shine through. She told us:

“To say I’m not afraid would be a lie. But I am not so afraid that I dare do nothing”.

 “No one should be in prison for demanding justice, and remembering the victims of a violent crackdown. Together, our voices are more powerful than you think – we can let the authorities know that we too, remember – and that we won’t sit by while brave people like Chow risk everything for their human rights,” says Kulak.

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