HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong singer and activist Denise Ho said on Wednesday an arts organisation has cancelled her concerts due to be held this month, further stoking worries over artistic freedoms in the former British colony.
In a statement on Twitter, Ho’s company Goomusic Ltd said the decision was based on a contract clause that cited circumstances where “public order or public safety would be endangered” as a result of the performance or hiring of venue.
The Hong Kong Arts Centre (HKAC), which describes itself as an independent multi-arts centre that offers exhibitions, screenings and performances, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The cancellation comes days after pro-Beijing newspapers accused Ho, a vocal supporter of anti-government protests in 2019, of colluding with foreign powers to undermine China and the former British colony.
In 2019, at the height of pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, Ho, who is banned in China, told the U.N. Human Rights Council https://www.reuters.com/article/us-hongkong-extradition-rights-idUSKCN1U323C in a speech in Geneva that the city’s freedoms were slipping away and urged international action. She then went to Washington https://www.reuters.com/article/us-hongkong-protests-wong-idUSKBN1W220R to urge the U.S. Congress for action as well.
Ho’s company posted on Twitter a letter it said it had received regarding the cancellation of her concerts, which was signed by HKAC’s “Venue Department.”
“The management of the Arts Centre is duty bound to observe closely the recent developments in society and the laws concerned,” the letter said, without elaborating.
Ho’s company said the cancellation came without any further explanation.
“We have thoroughly examined our released materials and show contents but could not see where or how this performance or hiring has the possibility to endanger, or will endanger, public order or safety,” Goomusic said.
“We doubt very much where the HKAC is heading and how they are going to face the public in the future.”
Under a national security law Beijing imposed on Hong Kong last year, nearly every corner of society has come under scrutiny. Authorities have arrested activists, detained newspaper editors, rewritten school curriculums, banned some books and protest slogans, and censored films.
Ho’s company said it reserved the right to take legal action and claim all losses and damages.
(Reporting By Jessie Pang and Sara Cheng; Writing by Anne Marie Roantree; Editing by Michael Perry)