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At unveiling of memorial to democracy activist, fears of crackdown in Hong Kong

OTTAWA — Prominent human rights activists and Chinese political dissidents in Canada are worried about a potential crackdown against pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

At an event in Ottawa, critics of the Chinese government’s human rights record expressed their concern the Chinese government would crush the protests ahead of Oct. 1, the 70th anniversary of communist rule in China.

Several of those present in Ottawa were active in the pro-democracy movement in China at the time of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, and say the Hong Kong protests are reminiscent of that moment.

They also say Canadians must call on the federal government to speak forcefully in favour of the pro-democracy protesters.

The activists were gathered at Amnesty International Canada’s headquarters in Ottawa to celebrate the unveiling of a memorial to Liu Xiaobo, a Chinese human rights advocate who won the 2010 Nobel peace prize.

Xiaobo was unable to receive the prize because of his imprisonment in China, and the Ottawa memorial is a sculpture of an empty chair symbolizing his absence.

The Canadian Press

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