HONG KONG — In 2018, the Cantopop singer Anthony Wong Yiu-ming carried out two songs at an election rally and inspired attendees to vote for a pro-democracy candidate for Hong Kong’s legislature.
On Monday, town’s Unbiased Fee Towards Corruption arrested Mr. Wong and accused him of violating marketing campaign legal guidelines. It mentioned Mr. Wong, 59, had been detained over his efficiency at a by-election rally for Au Nok-hin, 34, who later won his race.
Each had been charged with violating a provision of the legislation that bans the solicitation of votes utilizing meals, drink or leisure. The costs carry a possible sentence of as much as seven years in jail.
“Offering others with refreshments and leisure at an election is a corrupt conduct and a severe offense,” the anticorruption physique said in a statement saying the fees.
Mr. Wong’s arrest follows a sweeping marketing campaign towards the political opposition in Hong Kong by which individuals have been focused over a broad vary of expression, together with protest slogans, youngsters’s books and newspaper articles. A lot of the Chinese language territory’s pro-democracy politicians have both been arrested below a year-old nationwide safety legislation or moved overseas. Mass antigovernment protests that crammed the streets in 2019 have been silenced.
Mr. Au is already serving a 10-month jail time period over his involvement in a 2019 protest and is considered one of dozens of politicians dealing with fees below the safety legislation in reference to an off-the-cuff election major held by pro-democracy events final 12 months, which the authorities say was a part of a plan to subvert the federal government.
A consultant for Mr. Wong didn’t instantly return a request for remark.
The costs are the newest in a sequence of authorized actions towards the opposition camp by the Hong Kong authorities. Final month, the police arrested five members of a speech therapists’ union over the publication of kids’s books that officers mentioned instilled hatred of the federal government.
Final week, a demonstrator who crashed his bike into the police final 12 months whereas holding a banner bearing a protest slogan was sentenced to nine years in prison for terrorism and inciting secession, the primary conviction below the safety legislation.
The professional-democracy newspaper Apple Daily was forced to close in June after its financial institution accounts had been frozen by the authorities. Its founder, Jimmy Lai, high editors and executives have been charged below the safety legislation for allegedly calling for sanctions towards the Hong Kong and Chinese language governments.
The anticorruption physique additionally introduced fees towards three individuals final week, together with Benny Tai, a number one political strategist for the pro-democracy camp, accusing them of inserting $32,000 value of newspaper ads for the 2016 legislative election. Beneath Hong Kong legislation, it’s unlawful for anybody apart from a candidate or a candidate’s approved agent to spend on a marketing campaign.
Mr. Wong, who is typically referred to as the Cantonese David Bowie, is a vocalist with the digital band Tat Ming Pair, which makes use of theatrical make-up, costumes and stagecraft.
Tat Ming Pair tackles social and political points in its songs. Its largest hits had been two albums that touched upon the Chinese language authorities’s crackdown on the 1989 Tiananmen Sq. protests in addition to the anxiousness in Hong Kong, a former British colony, within the lead-up to its return to Chinese language rule in 1997. Two of the band’s songs, “Forgot He or She” and “Love within the Time of Pandemic,” are about homosexuality and the bias confronted by members of the homosexual neighborhood.
Mr. Wong is among the few celebrities who’ve spoken out towards the Hong Kong authorities and its backers in Beijing, a place that he says has value him an enormous quantity of revenue and partnerships with worldwide manufacturers.
He told The New York Times in a 2019 interview that popping out as homosexual in 2012 helped him really feel extra comfy with breaking an industrywide silence about politics, and he later spoke out in assist of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy Umbrella Motion in 2014.
“I’m a civilian first,” Mr. Wong mentioned, “then a musician and likewise a social activist.”
He mentioned on the time that he was not frightened about being blacklisted in China due to his politics.
“I’ve been singing for 30 years, and I can afford to pay this value,” he mentioned. “Lots of people would then turn out to be too scared to talk up or categorical themselves. That is probably the most chilling a part of it.”
Li Yuan contributed reporting.