As people prepare to mark next year the 30th anniversary of Beijing’s 1989 Tiananmen Square incident, the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China (the “Alliance”) is working aggressively to seek a permanent location for its “June 4th Museum”.
Richard Tsoi Yiu-cheong, vice-chairman of the Alliance, said the group is currently on the lookout for a roughly 1,200-square-foot unit in commercial premises.
It is understood that the Alliance has been actively searching for space, targeting commercial premises in Yau Tsim Mong district, Cheung Sha Wan and Lai Chi Kok to re-establish the museum.
According to Tsoi, they are entering the home stretch in the hunt for suitable premises. He added that the Alliance is raising an estimated HK$1.5 million for down-payment for a unit and the renovation cost.
Looking back, the Alliance has had a bumpy ride in recent years as it sought a permanent location for the June 4th Museum, which to seeks to commemorate the victims of Beijing’s infamous 1989 crackdown on democracy activists in Tiananmen Square.
In 2014, the Alliance bought a unit at Foo Hoo Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui as the permanent location of the museum.
However, in the two years that followed, the group was caught up in lawsuits with the owners’ corporation of Foo Hoo Centre over the use of the unit as the June 4th Museum.
As a result, the Alliance had no choice but to sell the property in 2016. After that, the Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre in Shek Kip Mei had been a temporary home to the museum for a short period of time last year and this year.
Tsoi says it has been anything but smooth in the search for a permanent location for the museum, since, as he put it, nine out of 10 property owners were put off by the name of the Alliance, and many of them had cold feet about signing a contract and renting out their premises for the purpose of establishing the June 4th Museum.
In order to prevent the trouble that they faced with the owners’ corporation of Foo Hoo Centre from happening again, some in the Alliance have argued that they should find out the identities of the owners of each and every unit that have been shortlisted, so as to make sure that the properties aren’t owned by people with strong pro-Beijing background.
Tsoi told us that the clock is ticking as they need to find a place and seal a deal by the end of this year if the museum is to open to the public before June 4, 2019.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on November 10
Translation by Alan Lee
[Chinese version 中文版]
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