Cantopop singer and pro-democracy supporter Denise Ho Wan-see held a free outdoor concert on Sunday, insisting that she will stand up for freedom of speech and expression in Hong Kong.
The singer went ahead with the show, as promised, sending a message to French cosmetics brand Lancôme which had cancelled an event scheduled for the same day and at the same venue.
Lancôme announced on June 4 that it was scrapping a June 19 promotional event featuring Ho.
The move came after the French firm was criticized by mainland netizens for patronizing an artist who supported the 2014 Occupy protests against Beijing.
Performing at the same venue in Sheung Wan as the cancelled Lancôme gig, Ho said on Sunday that some other brands are also distancing themselves from her due to her outspoken views.
Despite the commercial pressures, she will continue to speak up and stand against oppression, she said.
If she takes a step backward, it will only help authoritarian forces move one step forward, Ho said.
Ho’s Sunday concert, renamed as “The Beauty of We”, attracted an audience of more than 3,000 people, according to the Hong Kong Economic Journal.
Before the show began, Ho, who has been accused by mainland media of sympathizing with independence-leaning forces in Hong Kong, remarked that Lancôme had failed to give her an explanation about the cancelled event.
Fearing a backlash on the mainland, some other brands have also decided not to hire her as a spokesperson, she said.
In other comments, Ho paid respect to bookseller Lam Wing-kee, who on Thursday revealed to the public details about his eight-month-long detention in China on charges of dealing in publications critical of mainland leaders.
Hongkongers must follow the example of Lam and his colleagues and speak their minds, she said.
Given the incidents of “white terror”, it is important that Hong Kong people stand up against oppression, she said.
Many foreign media outlets, including BBC and Reuters, sent reporters to cover Ho’s concert.
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