An international competition focusing on traditional Chinese dance was suddenly cancelled in Hong Kong after arrangements were made and a theater was rented. The sudden cancellation comes directly at the hands of Hong Kong’s government.
Upon suddenly cancelling the contracted rental dates, the Heung Yee Kuk Tower Theater informed the company hosting the competiton, NTD Television, that the government informed them that they were taking back the dates because the government needed to use the building.
The cancellation comes right after Hong Kong received a tremendous backlash when the concerts of Denise Ho, Cantopop singer superstar, were cancelled after sponsoring company Lancome received pressure from Beijing. Many see this as an erosion of the free expression of the arts in Hong Kong.
Ho had earlier joined in the 2014 Umbrella Movement democracy protests. Lancome refuses to site a specific reason for the concert cancellation, but many see it as coming from a backlash by Beijing to an artist that supports keeping Hong Kong democratic.
This latest incident involving the International Chinese Classical Dance Competition is seen as a continuing clamping down on the freedom of the arts and expression in Hong Kong. Hong Kong has been criticized for following the censorship and limitations on freedoms characteristic in Mainland China.
Since Hong Kong was handed back to China by Great Britain in 1997, China gave a promise to keep “One country, two systems,” referring to the concept that China would not also impose communist rule on its newly reacquired territory.
Despite that, Hong Kong residents have seen continual erosions of freedom. Hong Kong residents continue to resist and push back against those erosions with protests, but never have the restrictions targeted the arts so directly until now.