Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement sparks propaganda ‘battle of the bands’ – National

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Within the propaganda battle between protesters in Hong Kong and the federal government in Beijing, Tommy Yuen is an unlikely hero.

The 39-year-old singer admits he’s one thing of a ‘has been,’ and virtually ‘by no means was.’


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“My profession wasn’t actually profitable,” he concedes. Again in 2002, Yuen was a member of a Hong Kong Cantonese-language boy band known as E-Children. (Hong Kong’s model of America’s Hanson or Wave.) And to be honest, they did have some standard songs.

However after a number of years of flirting with success, E-Children’ star burned out. The group disbanded and Yuen gave up on his music profession.

“It’s upsetting while you notice your dream has failed,” he says.

WATCH: Hong Kong police conflict with masked protesters at Yuen Lengthy station





“It’s a nasty feeling as a result of, in my coronary heart, I’m nonetheless very in love with music.”

Yuen definitely by no means anticipated that, 15 years later, he’d be impressed to return out of retirement by a political protest.

“I simply need to help Hong Kong folks,” he says.


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“China is making an attempt to make folks submit, consuming away their freedom. We’re combating towards this, as a result of we don’t need to be casualties of communism. We’re born and bred in Hong Kong.”

After largely ignoring Hong Kong’s mass pro-democracy motion for weeks, Beijing has lately deployed its propaganda machine, in an obvious try to steer residents of the semi-autonomous Chinese language metropolis that the protesters are mainly terrorists and their trigger is misplaced.

Beijing’s propaganda arsenal consists of music — particularly, gangsta rap.

CD Rev is a Chinese language nationalist rap group that’s reportedly sponsored by the federal government. They lately launched a music video mocking and condemning Hong Kong’s demonstrators, with rhymes akin to: “Hey democracy, why you all the time hiding someplace so laborious to see?”, and, “Ladies screaming, outlets smashed, are you continue to bragging about justice?”

The raps are in English, Mandarin and Cantonese; the latter is the language most commonly-spoken in Hong Kong, a metropolis that continues to be divided over the practically three-month-long protest motion towards a proposed — and now suspended — extradition invoice that might have seen Hong Kong suspects extradited to mainland China to face trial.


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Final week, when it seemed like Hong Kong’s protests may lastly be dropping steam, Yuen felt impressed to provide a brief video, edited along with photos from the protests. And he added his personal soundtrack, a music he’d written for E-Children 17 years earlier, which inspires the listener to boldly chase their desires.

WATCH: Latest protection of the Hong Kong pro-democracy demonstrations on Globalnews.ca


He posted the video and by no means anticipated he would obtain such an awesome response. ”Many many individuals cease me on the road say, ‘Thanks for my help. Thanks for my music. Thanks for my music.’”


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In a single day, it appears, his music has turn into an unofficial anthem for the motion.

“I need to cry as a result of that is my previous music,” Yuen mentioned, “however now it has the brand new significant of all Hong Kong folks.”

He says he hopes to play a free live performance in the identical streets the place demonstrators are actually protesting, after Beijing bows to their calls for.

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