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

Alice Su, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

State media in China labeled Ho and other artists who had supported the protesters as traitors, circulating lists of singers and actors who were no longer to be mentioned or allowed in mainland China.

But Ho has remained defiant, alongside actors Anthony Wong and Chow Yun-fat, all of whom have taken hits to their careers for supporting pro-democracy protesters.

Meanwhile, artists perceived to be pro-Beijing also face backlash from Hong Kong's protesters. After Hong Kong singer Alan Tam appeared at a pro-police rally last month, angry Hong Kong fans shared photos of themselves cutting his records apart.

But losing Hong Kong fans may not make a significant dent in the finances of stars who can make big money in China. Tam has three concerts scheduled within the next month in major cities of mainland China.

Ho's music has meanwhile placed her values above profit and pragmatism.

"It was because of this loss of the China market, because I could no longer rely on this easy revenue, that I became grounded to reality," she said at the Oslo Freedom Forum in Taipei, Taiwan, in November.

"As I was forced out of my glamorous world, I gained a new perspective of what I could actually accomplish."

Stripped of glitzy advertising deals and tours in Chinese cities, she now holds crowdfunded concerts supported by local businesses and runs her own record label, signing indie artists in Hong Kong and performing on "tour" in Hong Kong trams, sidewalks and shops.


She recently collaborated with Taiwanese singers on another song supporting the anti-extradition bill protesters.

"Walking on the road of non-sycophancy, footsteps are destined to be slow," she sings in Cantonese. "Yet, I don't believe I'll be standing firm alone."

The song's title is a Chinese character that means "support" or "sustain," expressing solidarity and perseverance between Taiwan and Hong Kong.

It's also the verb used for opening an umbrella.

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