Hong Kong Police Arrest Veteran Activist ‘Grandma Wong’ for Honoring Tiananmen Victims

HONG KONG, CHINA - APRIL 01: Police officers surround Alexandra Wong, also known as Grandma Wong, as she waves a U.K. national flag outside the West Kowloon Magistrates Courts ahead of a hearing on April 1, 2021 in Hong Kong, China. Seven prominent democratic figures, including Apple Daily founder Jimmy …
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Sixty-five-year-old Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Alexandra Wong Fung-yiu, affectionately known as “Grandma Wong” to the 2019 freedom movement, was arrested on Sunday for staging a solo protest march in commemoration of the Tiananmen Square massacre.

Wong’s “crime” involved walking up to the China Liaison Office by herself, carrying a yellow umbrella festooned with Union Jacks and a card that said “32, June 4, Tiananmen’s lament.”

The umbrella is a symbol of resistance against Chinese tyranny in Hong Kong, the British flag is a symbol of better times before the United Kingdom handed control of Hong Kong to Beijing in 1997, and June 4 is the day in 1989 when countless pro-democracy activists were murdered by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) at Tiananmen Square. The exact death toll has never been established because the Communist Party forbids discussion or investigation of the event.

The Hong Kong Free Press (HKFP) reported Wong was arrested for singlehandedly carrying out the march originally planned by the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China to commemorate the 32nd anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre. The march was originally supposed to include 3,000 to 5,000 participants.

The South China Morning Post (SCMP) cited local media reports that said Wong began her march at a playground in the early afternoon, chanting slogans for about 40 minutes before she set off along the planned demonstration route for the China Liaison Office, followed by police officers who videotaped her every step.

The police stopped her for questioning after about five minutes, then stopped her again when she passed police headquarters, physically accosted her, and carried her into a van. In a video clip of her arrest, Wong could be heard saying, “I’m only by myself, just an old lady here. Why stop me?”

The Hong Kong police banned the island’s traditional commemorations of Tiananmen Square last week, for the second year in a row, ostensibly due to the risk of coronavirus transmission – even though Hong Kong has few coronavirus cases at the moment. Police have offered no credible explanation for how a  65-year-old woman walking by herself presented a public health menace. Pro-Beijing officials have suggested they might suppress Tiananmen observances forever under the draconian national security law China imposed on Hong Kong last summer to crush the pro-democracy movement.

Police officials told HKFP they gave Wong a verbal warning to desist, then arrested her when she refused to comply, charging her with “attempting to incite others to participate in an unauthorized assembly and knowingly taking part in an unauthorized assembly.”

The HKFP noted the dauntless Grandma Wong has been arrested on several previous occasions for participating in the 2019 movement. She disappeared in August 2019 and resurfaced the following October, saying she had been jailed in the mainland city of Shenzhen on the CCP’s all-purpose dissent-crushing charge of “picking quarrels and provoking troubles.”

“Wong was released without charge on Monday afternoon, but she refused bail conditions,” the SCMP reported. Police officials took the occasion of her arrest to remind all Hong Kongers that any participation in banned Tiananmen Square vigils will be punished.


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