The group behind Hong Kong’s annual Tiananmen Massacre vigil deleted its online presence and archives on Thursday night following a police order.
The Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China said on Thursday that the group, seven of its standing committee members, and the company secretary received letters from the Commissioner of Police last Friday demanding they remove all “online platform information.”
By 10 p.m. on Thursday, its WordPress website, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube channel had disappeared from the internet.
Eleven years’ worth of footage from the group’s Victoria Park vigils was lost, including some live streams of the event. However, the online June 4th Museum, which the Alliance said was not owned or managed by the group, remains online.
The national security law, enacted in June last year, criminalises subversion, secession, collusion with foreign forces and terrorist acts, which are broadly defined to include disruption to transport and other infrastructure.
The Alliance nevertheless launched a new Facebook page this week. However, pro-Beijing lawmaker Holden Chow told state-owned newspaper Wen Wei Po the new page showed that the group was “unrepentantly attempting to continue opposing China and disrupting Hong Kong.”
Last-minute appeals on the local LIHKG forum to back up the content did not receive much traction on Thursday evening, though some digital material was retained on Issuu and archive.org.
Members of the Alliance were brought to court over two national security law cases last week, during which all were denied bail.
The Tiananmen massacre on June 4, 1989 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.
Additional reporting: Candice Chau.