1989 Tiananmen Massacre Online Museum stranded in Hong Kong, three weeks after police raid physical site

The online “June 4 Museum,” preserving the memory of Beijing’s bloody crackdown on protesters in 1989, has become inaccessible through many of Hong Kong’s major telecommunications providers. It comes less than two months after the site launched and three weeks after police confiscated exhibits at a separate, actual museum in Hong Kong.

HKFP confirmed on Wednesday that “8964museum.com” was not available through Smartone, China Mobile Hong Kong, 3HK, and CSL. The site was however still accessible via VPN services and from abroad.

Photo: Internet screenshots.

The website is also unavailable through HKBN, according to to StandNews, although HKFP found it accessible through Internet service provider (ISP) HGC Global Communications.

The site displayed a virtual archive of events and key figures from student-led protests in mainland China that ended in a repression by the People’s Liberation Army, leaving hundreds, if not thousands, of civilians dead.

The virtual museum was launched in early August, after authorities forced the closure of a physical museum for operation without a proper license. The group behind the project, the now-disbanded Hong Kong Alliance in Support of China’s Democratic Patriotic Movements, said the website was administered by an independent team as a precaution, citing “political pressure intensified “.

Photo: New Citizens.

But earlier this month, police raided the closed museum and was seen taking evidence against the Alliance as part of a crackdown on the security law.

The Alliance voted to dissolve it last Saturday, after police launched a national security investigation and a series of execution measures against the group. He had refused to comply with a request for data. Within a month, authorities had arrested its main members, raided its premises, frozen its assets and indicted the group and its main leaders under the security law.

Photo: 8964museum.com.

The online museum had remained online after police ordered the Alliance to shut down its digital presence in mid-September

All references to the massacre are censored by the authorities in mainland China. The annual vigils organized by the Alliance to commemorate the repression in Hong Kong have been widely seen as a symbol of the freedoms and autonomy promised to the city.

HKFP has contacted telecom providers for comment.

Rise of Internet censorship

In January, an anti-government HKChronicles site became unavailable in Hong Kong.

HKBN confirmed to HKFP that it had blocked the site at the request of the police under the security law.

Photo: screenshot from HKChronicles.

Section 43 of the Act gives the police the power to order a person or service provider to remove or assist in removing information posted online in the interest of protecting national security.

The January decision raised concerns among online commentators that authorities would use the security law to censor Internet content, just as the “great firewall” is used in mainland China, where Beijing heavily censors access. from its citizens to major online platforms, including Facebook. , YouTube and Google.

HKFP has contacted the police and the security bureau for comment.

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