The Corner


A Pop Star Defends Democracy in Hong Kong

Denise Ho performs at the Oslo Freedom Forum in Norway, May 27, 2019. (NTB Scanpix / Ryan Kelly / Reuters)

In the forthcoming issue of National Review, I have a piece about Tanya Chan, who is a Hong Konger: She is a legislator and a democracy leader, in the thick of it all. She is also an inspiration.

Today, I talked with Denise Ho — who is also an inspiration. She, too, is a Hong Konger, and a democracy leader, in the thick of it all. She is also a pop star — a household name in Hong Kong and beyond. Her activism has not come without costs. She has paid a price in engagements, endorsements, etc. Obviously, she is persona non grata in Mainland China — which is a very, very big market. But she could not remain silent. Something within her impelled her to join the others in the streets.

For my podcast with her — a Q&A — go here.

We met at Town Hall in New York City, where the Oslo Freedom Forum was holding a special session. (On the façade of Town Hall, it says in big, bold letters, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”) We talk about her life and career. The prospects for democracy in Hong Kong. The brutality of the police. The question of Taiwan. And other key subjects.

She says that all people who favor democracy, freedom, and human rights — wherever they live — are linked. They are allies, and should stand together against oppressors.

Usually, Q&A goes out with music by Glazunov (which is how the show is introduced, too) — the last movement of his Symphony No. 5, “Heroic.” This time, it goes out with a Denise Ho song. Again, here.


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