He Sang 2 Songs at an Election Rally. Hong Kong Says He Violated the Regulation.
HONG KONG — In 2018, the Cantopop singer Anthony Wong Yiu-ming carried out two songs at an election rally and inspired attendees to vote for a pro-democracy candidate for Hong Kong’s legislature.
On Monday, town’s Unbiased Fee In opposition to Corruption arrested Mr. Wong and accused him of violating marketing campaign legal guidelines. It mentioned Mr. Wong, 59, had been detained over his efficiency at a by-election rally for Au Nok-hin, 34, who later gained his race.
Each had been charged with violating a provision of the regulation that bans the solicitation of votes utilizing meals, drink or leisure. The fees carry a possible sentence of as much as seven years in jail.
“Offering others with refreshments and leisure at an election is a corrupt conduct and a critical offense,” the anticorruption physique mentioned in an announcement saying the costs.
Mr. Wong’s arrest follows a sweeping marketing campaign towards the political opposition in Hong Kong through which folks have been focused over a broad vary of expression, together with protest slogans, kids’s books and newspaper articles. Many of the Chinese language territory’s pro-democracy politicians have both been arrested underneath a year-old nationwide safety regulation or moved overseas. Mass antigovernment protests that crammed the streets in 2019 have been silenced.
Mr. Au is already serving a 10-month jail time period over his involvement in a 2019 protest and is one in every of dozens of politicians dealing with expenses underneath the safety regulation in reference to a casual election main held by pro-democracy events final yr, which the authorities say was a part of a plan to subvert the federal government.
A consultant for Mr. Wong didn’t instantly return a request for remark.
The fees are the most recent in a series of authorized actions towards the opposition camp by the Hong Kong authorities. Final month, the police arrested 5 members of a speech therapists’ union over the publication of youngsters’s books that officers mentioned instilled hatred of the federal government.
Final week, a demonstrator who crashed his motorbike into the police final yr whereas holding a banner bearing a protest slogan was sentenced to 9 years in jail for terrorism and inciting secession, the primary conviction underneath the safety regulation.
The professional-democracy newspaper Apple Each day was compelled to shut in June after its financial institution accounts had been frozen by the authorities. Its founder, Jimmy Lai, high editors and executives have been charged underneath the safety regulation for allegedly calling for sanctions towards the Hong Kong and Chinese language governments.
The anticorruption physique additionally introduced expenses towards three folks final week, together with Benny Tai, a number one political strategist for the pro-democracy camp, accusing them of inserting $32,000 value of newspaper ads for the 2016 legislative election. Beneath Hong Kong regulation, it’s unlawful for anybody aside from a candidate or a candidate’s licensed agent to spend on a marketing campaign.
Mr. Wong, who is usually referred to as the Cantonese David Bowie, is a vocalist with the digital band Tat Ming Pair, which makes use of theatrical make-up, costumes and stagecraft.
Tat Ming Pair tackles social and political points in its songs. Its largest hits had been two albums that touched upon the Chinese language authorities’s crackdown on the 1989 Tiananmen Sq. protests in addition to the anxiousness in Hong Kong, a former British colony, within the lead-up to its return to Chinese language rule in 1997. Two of the band’s songs, “Forgot He or She” and “Love within the Time of Pandemic,” are about homosexuality and the unfairness confronted by members of the homosexual neighborhood.
Mr. Wong is without doubt one of the few celebrities who’ve spoken out towards the Hong Kong authorities and its backers in Beijing, a place that he says has price him an enormous quantity of earnings and partnerships with worldwide manufacturers.
He informed The New York Instances in a 2019 interview that popping out as homosexual in 2012 helped him really feel extra comfy with breaking an industrywide silence about politics, and he later spoke out in help of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy Umbrella Motion in 2014.
“I’m a civilian first,” Mr. Wong mentioned, “then a musician and in addition a social activist.”
He mentioned on the time that he was not nervous about being blacklisted in China due to his politics.
“I’ve been singing for 30 years, and I can afford to pay this value,” he mentioned. “Lots of people would then grow to be too scared to talk up or specific themselves. That is essentially the most chilling a part of it.”
Li Yuan contributed reporting.