Denise Ho speech at UN rights council angers Chinese delegates

July 09, 2019 14:57
Hong Kong Canton-pop singer Denise Ho tells the UN Human Rights Council that the city's autonomy has slowly eroded since the 1997 handover. Photo: AFP

Denise Ho Wan-see, a staunch supporter of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movements, has asked the United Nations Human Rights Council to speak up in defense of the city's autonomy and consider suspending China’s membership in the 47-member body in view of its alleged abuses.

Beijing’s delegation twice interrupted the speech of the 42-year-old Cantopop singer, who was invited to speak as a UN Watch representative at the council’s meeting in Geneva on Monday.

In her speech, Ho questioned that the “one country, two systems”, which she said now exists in name only, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported.

She said several dozens of people have been arrested in the campaign against the government's extradition bill and four have committed suicide to express their opposition to the legislation, which would allow people in Hong Kong to be extradited to mainland China to face trial in courts controlled by the Communist Party.

But Dai Demao, first secretary of China’s mission to the UN in Geneva, accused her of “slandering” and interfering with China’s sovereignty and internal affairs, according to Reuters.

Hong Kong enjoyed a “high degree of autonomy” since the 1997 handover, but protesters used extreme violence to attack the Legislative Council building a week ago, Dai said.

He said Ho had wrongly referred to Hong Kong “side-by-side” with China, and that was an affront to the widely recognized “One China” policy, the Associated Press reported.

Ho, in her speech, denounced the disqualifications of lawmakers, the jailing of activists and the “cross-border kidnappings” of booksellers in Hong Kong as signs of "China's tightening grip”.

She said the autonomy of Hong Kong had slowly eroded since the handover, accusing China of "preventing our democracy at all costs" such as by appointing as Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor.

Dai stepped in again to reject "unfounded allegations" and appealed to the chair of the council to stop Ho from using "abusive language”, AP reported.

Meanwhile, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a regular press conference on Monday that China has “every confidence” in Hong Kong’s future as the city is “now faced with precious opportunities to gain new growth drivers through further integration into national development”, while the “international community also holds a more positive attitude towards cooperation” with it.

The comments were made in response to the latest outlook on Hong Kong sovereign bond ratings given by Moody's.

– Contact us at [email protected]