《TAIPEI TIMES》 HK artist says he came to Taiwan for ‘100％ freedom’
Kacey Wong is pictured in an undated photograph taken from his Facebook page. Photo copied by Chen Cheng-liang, Taipei Times
/ AFP, HONG KONG
One of Hong Kong’s best-known artists yesterday confirmed that he had moved to Taiwan in search of “100 percent freedom” from the Hong Kong government’s crackdown on dissent.
Kacey Wong’s （黃國才） departure is the latest blow to Hong Kong’s reputation as a regional haven for the arts and free speech as government critics face growing scrutiny from authorities.
Wong, 51, posted a black-and-white video on Facebook in which he sung a rendition of Vera Lynn’s wistful ode We’ll Meet Again.
“Leaving is not easy, staying is also difficult,” he wrote.
In an interview with the Hong Kong Free Press Web site, Wong confirmed that he had fled Hong Kong for political reasons, citing the diminishing space for artistic freedom since China imposed a National Security Law that criminalized much dissent.
The Cornell-educated artist is known for his contemporary visual arts focusing on social activism and politics.
In one 2018 performance art piece called The Patriot, Wong performed China’s national anthem on an accordion while inside a red metal cage.
Last year, authorities passed new laws making it illegal to mock China’s national anthem or flag, meaning any repeat of such a performance would be fraught with risk.
“I want and I demand 100 percent freedom, with no compromise,” Wong told Hong Kong Free Press.
“I always appreciated Taiwan’s culture and art, I think it’s very mature and deep and the society is sophisticated and raw at the same time, which I like,” he added.
Earlier this year, Wong distributed hundreds of candle stubs from previous vigils marking Beijing’s deadly Tiananmen Square crackdown after Hong Kong authorities banned public commemorations.
The arts have been heavily affected by the security law, which was introduced to quash dissent after pro-democracy protests two years ago.
All films must now be censored for any content that breaches the law and multiple books have been pulled from shelves.
On Monday, Cantopop star Anthony Wong （黃耀明） was charged with “corrupt conduct” for singing at an election rally of a pro-democracy politician three years ago.
Two authors of a children’s book that likened democracy supporters to sheep surrounded by wolves were charged with sedition last month.
Despite this, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam （林鄭月娥） has insisted that freedom of speech remains intact in the territory.
“I would honestly ask you, what sort of freedoms have we lost, what sort of vibrancy has Hong Kong been eroded?” she said in a radio show late last month.