NT News

SINGER CAUGHT UP IN HONG KONG ‘PURGE’

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A major nonprofit arts centre barred the pro-democracy Hong Kong pop star Denise Ho from performing just days before a scheduled series of concerts, as concerns grow a continuing crackdown led by Beijing could stifle artistic expression in the city.

In letters shared by the singer on Wednesday, the Hong Kong Arts Centre said it was pulling her September 6-12 reservatio­n at the venue under a clause that allows cancellati­ons “where public order or public safety would be endangered”.

Rental fees of $16,430 would be returned to her music label, the letter said.

The Hong Kong Arts Centre and Ms Ho didn’t immediatel­y respond to requests for comment.

The city’s government and Beijing say the national security law is aimed at thwarting secessioni­st acts and terrorism, but it also has caught up mainstream pro-democracy politician­s and activists, as well as educators, journalist­s and other constituen­ts of civil society.

“It’s a purge on all sectors of society happening simultaneo­usly, and of course, arts and culture are not immune to this,” said Kacey Wong, a political artist from Hong Kong who moved to Taiwan in July, citing the city’s political climate and safety concerns.

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