Singer-activist Denise Ho on HK protests: 'We have hope in this fight'
MANILA, Philippines – Singer-activist Denise Ho (HOCC) sees hope amid the protests in Hong Kong, saying the movement is bringing people out of their comfort zones.
"They are making people angry. They are pushing those who have been a bit reluctant to go into the front lines, they are pushing those people to fight together," Ho told Rappler, referring to the police.
Ho spoke to Rappler after addressing a sold-out audience at Sydney Opera House's Antidote festival on Sunday, September 1. During the emotional event, Ho said the political situation back home in Hong Kong had reached "a point of no turning back," The Guardian reported
For weeks now, a largely leaderless movement has drawn people to the streets of Hong Kong to protest against what they see as an erosion of freedoms and increasing interference in their affairs by the Chinese government.
Ho herself has been front and center in the activism scene. She had been blacklisted by China's government for participating in the 2014 Umbrella Movement. Her career in the Chinese market was placed in peril after her blacklisting, with China's government censoring her name from searches in the country and sponsors leaving to avoid potential repercussions.
Since then Ho has found ways to share her music again through technology.
She acknowledged that the Internet, while being used by China's government to keep tabs on its citizens, is also "an empowerment to the people," where "everyone can speak up and take a stance and also take the lead at different moments."
Making government address issues
Police have been empowered to attack and intimidate protesters, in addition to tagging them using water cannons with a chemical dye for later arrest. The erosion of freedoms has also seen in the arrest of several high profile pro-democracy activists and politicians which rights groups said came from Beijing's playbook.
She told Rappler, "It's at this very ridiculous stage where the police have complete authority to do whatever they want with the people."
"It has taken 13 weeks of police brutality for us to get to this point. I think the government has to address the issues at some point unless they are really thinking of a total crackdown, which I think would cause great losses not only to the Hong Kong people but even to the China economy and even the Chinese government," Ho said.
Asked for words of advice for those who want to make their voices heard by their government, she stressed unity and collaboration as a means of getting things done.
"As long as the people stay united as one group, just to let everyone pitch in their ideas and not wait for someone to call the shots or make decisions – of course there would be mistakes...we have ideas that might work or that might not work so well – as long as we able to realize our mistakes and learn from these mistakes then we [will be] totally fine," the singer-activist said. – Rappler.com