Macau’s Municipal Affairs Bureau (IAM) has withdrawn its authorisation for an open-air roving photo exhibition about the so-called June 4 incident by the non-establishment Democratic Development Union in various public spaces, the Portuguese-language radio channel of public broadcaster TDM reported today.
The Radio Macau report cited the union’s co-founder, veteran lawmaker-cum-activist Ng Kuok Cheong, as saying that the bureau had withdrawn the authorisation in a letter that he received on Friday.
Ng claimed that the “sudden” deauthorisation was due to “political motives.”
Ng said the bureau had authorised the exhibition in late April. As in previous years, the exhibition was originally scheduled to be held in a raft of public spaces between Friday and June 8.
The lawmaker said that the bureau states in the letter it “found out” that it should not have granted the authoritisation in the first place.
IAM President José Tavares told Radio Macau that the deauthorisation was due to a decision by the bureau’s administrative council to “standardise” all requests by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to use public spaces, i.e. the requests needed to match the bureau’s functions and powers. Tavares said that the bureau’s earlier decision to authorise the exhibition had failed to properly consider the situation so that the council needed to “rectify” it.
One of the functions of the bureau is, according to a law which took effect in January last year, “to encourage harmony and coexistence” among Macau’s various communities and to promote civic education.
The bureau had authorised previous exhibitions by Ng’s group. The exhibition has been held annually in a raft of public spaces since 1990, one year after the incident in Beijing, usually drawing a crowd of several hundred.