At the UN, Hong Kong activist calls for more pressure on China

GENEVA: The Hong Kong activist urged the international community on Monday to increase pressure on China, in a speech to the UN rights council interrupted twice by a Beijing diplomat.

Ho, a star of pop music in favor of democracy, has joined the large marches of protesters calling for democratic reforms and the cessation of semi-autonomous freedoms in Hong Kong.

Before addressing the council, Ho told AFP that the international community, including the United States, should raise its voice stronger in defense of rights in the territory.

They have the power to (put) pressure on China, he said.

At the Human Rights Council, Ho condemned the legislation that triggered the worst crisis in Hong Kong's recent history, a law now suspended that would have allowed extradition to mainland China.

Will the United Nations convene an urgent session to protect the people of Hong Kong? he asked the council members, insisting that the freedoms in the territory were under serious attack.

The rights council can hold extraordinary sessions on global crises, which generally produce resolutions that seek to raise awareness but have no influence on the ground.

Ho's speech was interrupted twice by the first secretary of the Chinese mission, Dai Demao, raising points of order, a procedure that member states use when they feel a speaker has violated UN standards.

Dai said that Ho perpetrated an affront to Beijing by equating Hong Kong and China, rather than referring to Hong Kong as part of China.

After Ho finished her speech, she told reporters that she was not trying to put China and Hong Kong at the same level.

But, he added, we are all in danger in Hong Kong because we are about to become another city (China) where we would lose our freedom of expression.

This is really the turning point in which we can safeguard our city or go the other way, he added.

The protesters want the extradition bill to be scrapped, an independent investigation into the police tactics used against the protesters, an amnesty for those arrested and for the city's unelected pro-Beijing leader, Carrie Lam, to resign.