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Defying China blacklist, some Hong Kong celebrities are speaking out during protests

Alice Su, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

At Ho's mention of the "one country, two systems" model and its violation by China, the Chinese diplomat interrupted again, saying the singer was "defaming" China.

The Cantopop singer, also known as HOCC, has become a symbol of Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement and its LGBTQ community (she was the first singer to come out as lesbian in Hong Kong). She wore a black blazer and T-shirt to the U.N. meeting that read: "We stand as one."

After she waited for the interruption to end, she asked for China's removal from the human rights council and for an urgent U.N. session to "protect the people of Hong Kong."

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Tuesday that Ho's request was a "pipe dream" and that foreign powers, specifically the United States, were interfering in China's domestic affairs.

"It is wrong for any external forces to interfere in Hong Kong affairs in whatever form," he said. "Any attempt to incite chaos in the (special administrative region) by hyping up this issue has no support and will not succeed."

Politics has increasingly seeped into the entertainment sphere in China, where artists who touch on anything deemed sensitive to Beijing risk losing access to a market of 1.4 billion potential fans.

 

It's a make-or-break calculation that has pushed many Chinese-language celebrities into silence on issues such as Hong Kong's anti-extradition bill protests.

Actor and martial artist Jackie Chan, who performed at a concert in Hong Kong to support pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square in 1989, was asked about the Hong Kong protests during an album promotion in Taiwan last month.

"I don't know anything about it," said Chan, who over the years has become known for his pro-Beijing stance.

Other artists have made even more drastic turnarounds.

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