Mon, Nov 05, 2018 - Page 4 News List

Pussy Riot activists stand up for Hong Kong rights

AFP, HONG KONG

Members of Russian punk band Pussy Riot on Saturday joined Hong Kong democracy campaigners to defend freedom of expression as Beijing tightens its grip on the territory.

Two members of the Russian group spoke alongside leading Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong (黃之鋒) at a panel discussion that had been due to accompany the launch of a highly anticipated art show by Chinese political cartoonist Badiucao (巴丟草).

The show was canceled on Friday, with Hong Kong organizers citing safety concerns due to “threats made by Chinese authorities relating to the artist.”

“We are very sorry to know that things are getting worse here. I think it is very important to be here now just to express our solidarity,” Pussy Riot member Olga Kuracheva said during the packed panel discussion on freedom of art and expression, held at a studio in Hong Kong.

Kuracheva and fellow Pussy Riot member Veronika Nikulshina said threats to exhibitions and political art events are “common practice” in Russia.

Kuracheva encouraged people to speak out against suppression.

“I would advise people not to be afraid, because one voice is not so much ... but voices of solidarity should sound loud,” she told the audience.

There was a major backlash against Hong Kong authorities last month when they denied a visa without explanation to a Financial Times journalist who had chaired a press club talk by a Hong Kong independence activist.

Wong called on members of civil society around the world to share their experiences to gain “more bargaining power” in pushing for human rights and freedoms.

In September, a Pussy Riot member was hospitalized with suspected poisoning and has said he believes he was attacked by Russia’s secret service for his attempt to investigate the deaths of three Russian journalists in Africa.

The two Pussy Riot members told the Hong Kong audience that the poisoning was a bid to silence them.

“Sometimes living in Russia is like living in a war and I sometimes think: Who’s going be the next?” Kuracheva said.

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