In 2018, Michael Kovrig, then working as a senior advisor for International Crisis Group, was arrested by Chinese authorities on the basis of endangering Chinese security. According to the group Michael was doing the opposite while working in China.
“We do not understand repeated allegations that he has “endangered Chinese security”. Michael’s work included meeting several dozen times with Chinese officials, academics, and analysts from multiple Chinese state institutions. He had attended numerous conferences at the invitation of Chinese organisations. He frequently appeared on Chinese television and in other media to comment on regional issues. Nothing Michael did harmed China. On the contrary, Crisis Group’s work aims to defuse any tensions between China and nearby states, and to give a fresh, independent appraisal of China’s growing role in the world.”
Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau has called Michael’s detention unacceptable and he has now been held without charge for almost 2 years.
Previously, Michael, a Canadian citizen, was the singer for the Hungarian band Bankrupt. Now his fellow bandmates have released a music video for their song The Plane To Toronto which they released as a single in July this year to raise awareness about Michael’s case.
You can participate in getting the word out and put pressure on the Chinese government to free Michael from his arbitrary detention. The band has made a Free Michael Kovrig poster that you can print, and take a selfie holding, and upload it to Instagram / Facebook / Twitter with the hashtag #freemichaelkovrig. You can also make your own poster.
For the music video below, the band received 60 videos from supporters from all around the world and now it’s up to the rest of us to share this piece of work.
Daily Sun reports that Tibetan singer Lhundrub Drakpa has been arbitrarily held in detention for over a year. He was arrested only two months after the release of his song ‘Black Hat’. Now Chinese authorities have sentenced Lhundrub to 6 years in prison for criticizing China’s policies in Tibet with his song.
Our colleagues in Freemusereport that in 2019 they witnessed “a clampdown on artists and other citizens who questioned Beijing’s dominant celebratory narrative”.
It has been almost 6 months now since people of Hong Kong started protesting their own government and its corrupt relationship with China. It started with an extradition bill in relation to China but now the protests continue against police violence and government corruption.
People have been hurt, people have died and a lot of people are angry. The anger is no wonder, when Hong Kong was handed over to China in 1997 from a colonizing, far away government (the UK), the island got a certain autonomy that included having their own currency, free press and speech, their unique culture and more.
This was to no liking to China. And so the relationship between the two has been intense ever since. Hong Kong are standing their ground because they want to keep their autonomy, their heritage and their values and be separate from the mainland behemoth that is China.
Music has played a big part in the recent protests in Hong Kong. People have chanted together, in the thousands, songs of democracy and unity. Hong Kong is different from China. People everywhere want to keep their freedom and just as people in China are oppressed Hong Kong citizens want to hold on to their democracy – and not become part of the authoritarian mainland.