21 October 2016
Some observers believe that pro-establishment groups are deliberately creating hurdles for the June 4 memorial museum. Credit: June 4 Museum/Facebook
Some observers believe that pro-establishment groups are deliberately creating hurdles for the June 4 memorial museum. Credit: June 4 Museum/Facebook

June 4 museum sees sharp fall in visitor numbers

Hong Kong’s June 4 memorial museum, which is dedicated to the 1989 pro-democracy protests in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, has seen a sharp fall in visitor numbers.

The museum drew 1,000 visitors in May, compared to 5,000 in the same month last year, Ming Pao Daily reported Thursday.

The museum, which opened in Tsim Sha Tsui on April 27 last year, was set up by the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China.

It features photos, films, books and other documents about the democracy movement in the mainland and the subsequent brutal crackdown by Chinese authorities on June 4, 1989.

According to staff of the museum, while many groups from middle schools and community organizations had paid a visit, half the visitors were in fact from the mainland while foreign nationals accounted for about 30 percent.

Alliance vice chairman Richard Tsoi said the museum caught people’s attention last year as 2014 marked the 25th anniversary of the June 4 crackdown on pro-democracy activists.

But visitor numbers have fallen since then, partly because the organizers didn’t have adequate resources to promote the museum, he said.

The Alliance will try to add more elements to the museum to enhance interactivity and visitor experience, Tsoi said.

Labour Party leader Lee Cheuk-yan, secretary of the Alliance, said flyers will be distributed by the Hong Kong Museum of History that is also located in Tsim Sha Tsui.

The leaflets will aim prompt people who visit the history museum to also visit the nearby June 4 museum. 

Online promotions through Twitter and other social media will also be conducted, he said.

Meanwhile, some observers believe that pro-establishment groups are deliberately trying to suppress the June 4 museum.

According to Apple Daily, the incorporated owners of the building where the museum is located have ordered that all visitors to the museum must register their personal information.

The rule is being applied only to the museum visitors and not to people who go to other floors of the building.

Lee said the Alliance will not yield to the owners who are apparently trying to force the museum to relocate.

Four pro-establishment groups, including Defend Hong Kong Campaign, protested outside the museum on Thursday.

Fu Chun-chung, convenor of Defend Hong Kong Campaign, alleged that the Alliance had exaggerated the death toll in the 1989 crackdown.

There has been no photographic evidence of the killing of student activists, he said, accusing the Alliance of misleading Hong Kong people.

Responding to the charges, Lee described Fu as being shameless.

He urged Fu to ask the Chinese Communist Party to disclose the exact casualty figures from the crackdown.

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