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Hong Kong Tiananmen museum to close

BBC News BBC News 14/04/2016
The statue of the Goddess of Democracy is seen as people visit the June 4th Museum during the first day open to public on April 26, 2014 in Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong © Getty Images The statue of the Goddess of Democracy is seen as people visit the June 4th Museum during the first day open to public on April 26, 2014 in Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong

A museum in Hong Kong dedicated to the Tiananmen Square protests will close by September because of a legal dispute.

In this picture taken on May 28, 2014 in Hong Kong, a man walks past a billboard at the June 4th Museum dedicated to remembering China's June 4, 1989 Tiananmen military crackdown.: About half of the 20,000 visitors to the museum since it opened are from mainland China © AFP About half of the 20,000 visitors to the museum since it opened are from mainland China

The other tenants of the building it occupies have long wanted it shut down because of safety concerns.

The chairman of the group behind the museum, Albert Ho, told the BBC that protracted litigation was proving too expensive

China bans all reference to the military crackdown on pro-democracy protesters on 4 June, 1989.

It comes as there is growing concern among some in Hong Kong that the freedoms given to the territory when it was handed back to China in 1997 by the British are being eroded.

'Violates regulation'

The museum, which opened in 2014, is run by the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, which also organises the Tiananmen anniversary vigil every year.

It features a statue of the Goddess of Democracy, similar to the one on display at Tiananmen Square during the protest, as well as photos and video clips from the time.

Tenants in the commercial building say the museum violates a regulation that the premise should only be used for offices, in legal documents seen by AFP news agency.

Mr Ho alleges that the complaints are politically motivated. He said the building management records the identities of all visitors which has made some from the mainland reluctant to come.

About half of its 20,000 visitors since it opened have come from mainland China.

"The decision has been made to look for a new location," Mr Ho said. "The other side is very well funded."

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