Hong Kong pop star Anthony Wong arrested for singing at rally

Photo credit: Jane Li

Hong Kong officials have arrested pop star Anthony Wong for singing at a pro-democracy rally.

In 2018, cantopop singer Anthony Wong Yiu-ming sang two songs at a campaign rally. The rally was held in favor of the pro-democracy candidate for the Hong Kong legislature. The Hong Kong Independent Corruption Commission arrested the singer yesterday. He is accused of breaking campaign laws over his performance.

Mr. Wong was charged with violating a provision in the law prohibiting the solicitation of votes by using food, drink or entertainment. If convicted of the charges against him, the pop singer faces up to seven years in prison. Wong’s arrest comes as Hong Kong authorities crack down on everything from protest slogans to children’s books and newspaper articles.

Anthony Wong is sometimes referred to as Cantonese David Bowie. He is the singer of the electronic group Tat Ming Pair, which includes directing in his sets. The band tackles social and political issues in their songs, much like Rage Against the Machine.

The two biggest hits of the group were albums criticize the Chinese government’s response to the 1989 protests in Tiananmen Square. These songs, “Forgot He or She” and “Love in the Time of Pandemic” are about being gay and dealing with the prejudices of family and friends.

Anthony Wong is one of the few celebrities in Hong Kong to speak out against the government. He says his pro-democracy stance has cost him revenues and partnerships, but he’s not worried about the consequences.

“I’ve been singing for 30 years, and I can afford to pay that price,” Wong Recount The New York Times in 2019. “A lot of people would then be too afraid to speak or express themselves. This is the scariest part. I am first a civilian, then a musician, and also a social activist.

Hong Kong’s anti-corruption organization is backed by Beijing. He cracked down on pro-democracy supporters in the city. Several protesters during the 2018 riots were arrested and sentenced to up to nine years in prison, some for terrorism and others for inciting secession.

Most of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy politicians have been arrested or moved elsewhere. The mass anti-government protests that filled the streets in 2019 were effectively silenced. The politician Mr. Wong sang for is serving a 10-month prison term under a Chinese securities law.

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