Hong Kong

Inside Hong Kong's Fight To Keep Chinese Authoritarianism at Bay

Activist and celebrity musician Denise Ho discusses the Hong Kong protests, her 2014 arrest, and the future of Hong Kong's autonomy from China.


Denise Ho is a problem for Chinese and Hong Kong authorities. The 42-year-old celebrity musician became a public face for dissent after Hong Kong police arrested and detained her for participating in the 2014 "umbrella movement," a large-scale protest demanding universal suffrage. The Chinese government subsequently banned her from performing in mainland China.

Ho is now a prominent figure in the Hong Kong protests, which started in early June after the administrative region's executive council proposed a new law that would make it easier to extradite suspects to China—a change that many Hong Kongers fear would lead to the persecution of political dissidents.

Reason's Zach Weissmueller spoke with Ho about the on-the-ground reality for protesters, what it's like being a political dissident in the shadow of the Chinese surveillance state, the politics of her "Cantopop" music, what she foresees for the immediate future of Hong Kong's "one country, two systems" arrangement with China, and why the protesters' fight to maintain Hong Kong's autonomy should concern Americans.

Audio production by Ian Keyser.