China interrupts Hong Kong pop star during UN speech

Updated 6:10 PM EDT, Tue July 9, 2019
Pro-democracy Hong Kong singer Denise Ho attends a press conference after addressing the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on July 8, 2019. - The United Nations should convene an urgent session to discuss the crisis in Hong Kong, says singer and protest activist Denise Ho. Ho is in Geneva to adress the United Nations Human rights Council about the situation in the semi-autonomous territory which was sparked by a now-suspended law that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China.
Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images
Pro-democracy Hong Kong singer Denise Ho attends a press conference after addressing the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on July 8, 2019. - The United Nations should convene an urgent session to discuss the crisis in Hong Kong, says singer and protest activist Denise Ho. Ho is in Geneva to adress the United Nations Human rights Council about the situation in the semi-autonomous territory which was sparked by a now-suspended law that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China.
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Chinese diplomats repeatedly interrupted a Hong Kong pop star and activist as she accused Beijing of “preventing our democracy at all costs” in a speech to the United Nations on Monday.

Denise Ho told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva that China had reneged on the commitments it made when it took control of Hong Kong in 1997, echoing the concerns of millions of Hong Kongers who have joined mass protests in recent weeks.

“The Vienna Declaration guarantees democracy and human rights. Yet in Hong Kong, these are under serious attack,” Ho said in her short address to the UN body.

Hong Kong singer Denise Ho attends the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on July 8, 2019.
FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Hong Kong singer Denise Ho attends the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on July 8, 2019.

China’s delegation interrupted Ho’s speech twice by raising procedural motions. First, it accused Ho of violating the UN constitution by referring to Hong Kong as a country rather than a part of China and asked that she use “wordings that conform with UN rules.”

The Chinese diplomat used the second motion to accused Ho of “baselessly” attacking the “one country, two systems” arrangement under which the city is governed.

Ho ended her speech by asking the UN to convene an urgent session to “protect the people of Hong Kong” and remove China from the UN Human Rights Council.

Weeks of protest

Hong Kongers have been protesting in huge numbers over the past month against a controversial bill that critics say will put political activists and business people at risk of being extradited to mainland China.

The Hong Kong government says the bill merely closes a loophole to allow suspected criminals to be extradited to territories where it doesn’t have formal extradition deals, including Taiwan, Macau and mainland China.

After the protests, Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam suspended the bill. While she didn’t give a timeline for the resumption of debate on the legislation, she indicated that it was unlikely to pass this year.