Riots damage Hong Kong’s cultural status

By Xu Keyue Source:Global Times Published: 2019/11/19 22:08:40

Violence, unrest force scrapping of concerts, other high-profile events

Singer Jay Chou performs at his "Opus Jay 2013 World Tour" Tianjin concert in Tianjin, north China. (Xinhua/Ma Cheng)

The postponement of popular Taiwan singer Jay Chou's concert in Hong Kong for safety reasons has triggered public concern that the city's robust cultural environment would be damaged as the city has suffered months of riots and violence. 

Chou's agency, Best Shine Office, announced Tuesday on Facebook that the postponement is "in the best interest of public safety," "in view of the uncertainties and possible interruption in public transport."

The concert, Prudential WE DO LISTENING: Jay Chou Carnival World Tour Concert 2019 Hong Kong, was scheduled to take place from December 6-8  and December 13-15.

The announcement was later forwarded by Chou's fan club on the Chinese Twitter-liked Sina Weibo.

The topic "Jay Chou's concert in Hong Kong was postponed" has been viewed 160 million times as of press time. Linking this with many other cultural events, which were cancelled due to the city's unrest, many netizens said they were concerned the riots have affected the city's robust cultural environment.

A Shanghai-based fan surnamed Chen, who followed Chou for 16 years and bought a concert ticket, told the Global Times on Tuesday that he understands and supports the decision as personal safety has been a big problem recently in Hong Kong, a city suffered months of anti-government protests which often escalated into violence and vandalism.

Chen said many other fans had decided not to buy tickets either.

Chou is not the first celebrity to reschedule or cancel events in Hong Kong amid the unrest. Mainland pop star Zhang Yixing on August 12 called off his Hong Kong concert for security reasons. 

Observers said that as a melting pot of Eastern and Western cultures, Hong Kong is also considered a cultural center. However, the international metropolis has now descended into a culturally isolated island, said Tang Fei, a member of the Council of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies.

Tang said that due to the ongoing unrest, many cultural activities, such as food and tourism activities, were  cancelled. 

Even universities were morphed into battlefield for rioters, said Li Xiaobing, an expert on Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan at Nankai University, referring to young rioters' sabotage of the local universities. The city now is not suitable for holding large-scale cultural activities, especially activities favored by young people, a small part of which are not rational and go to the extreme to threaten public security.

Reports said that the Macpherson Stadium in Mong Kok in August also announced that two concerts of Taiwan singers, including Ding Dang, had to be postponed.

Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, which produces the musical Matilda, announced on September 12 the cancellation of the Hong Kong performance.

The Hong Kong Jockey Club scrapped the Happy Valley race on September 18.

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