Hong Kong’s French and Israeli consulates condemn race-hate comic’s visit
French and Israeli consulates express concern to Hong Kong government about convicted racist and anti-Semite’s shows in the city later this month
Western consulates are warning a French comedian convicted for inciting racial hatred could spark public disorder in Hong Kong if a planned two-night performance in Cyberport goes ahead.
The French and Israeli consulates have contacted the police and the government raising concerns about artist Dieudonné M’bala M’bala’s upcoming two-night show on the 28th and 29th this month.
M’bala M’bala, of Cameroonian origin, is a well known hate-speech artist and holds a string of convictions in France and Belgium for racist and anti-Semitic remarks and was the inventor of the quenelle hand gesture likened to a reverse Nazi salute. He previously rejected being branded a racist.
Last year, the comic was found guilty for condoning terrorism after mocking ‘Je Suis Charlie’ slogan created in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks.
The French Consulate of Hong Kong condemned the show, but said it was powerless to intervene, distancing the Consulate, French people and values from that of M’bala M’bala’s.
“The Consulate would condemn of course any incitement to terrorism or to racial hatred or any expression of racism in a performance made by a French artist in Hong Kong, which does not reflect the opinion and values of the French people.
The French Consulate added it wrote a letter to the Hong Kong police expressing concern after learning about M’bala M’bala’s upcoming performance.
Police sources said the letter contained a warning of “a disturbance to public order.”
The Israeli consulate has contacted the government to warn public disorder and violence was one possible outcome should the show takes place.
Sagi Karni, the Israeli consul general, told the Sunday Morning Post: “I think it will be a scandal if such a performance of a known anti-Semite and racist takes place in Hong Kong.” I would be curious to see what type of Hong Kong citizen will bother to buy tickets to hear such incident and racism from an anti-Semite who calls himself a comedian.
The consul general said he told the government: “It’s a despicable phenomena and I cannot rule out that in a situation when inciteful contents - racism, anti-Semitism - will be involved, public disorder will not be the outcome, god forbid violence.”
One of the largest local French associations Union des Francais de l’Etranger said refused to promote the artist’s show when asked. It declined to make any further comment about the performance.
The Immigration Department said it was “committed” to control immigration by “denying the entry of undesirables.”
A spokesman stressed had the right to “decide whether the entry will be allowed or refused having regard to the general immigration requirements and circumstances pertaining to each individual case.”
A police spokesman said it would take action if it believe a crime has been committed, and signalled it would deploy officers on the nights of the event.
“We respect the public’s freedoms of expression and speech all along. It is the policy of police to facilitate all peaceful public events while at the same time ensuring public safety and public order.”
A Cyberport spokeswoman said it could not take action against a private event on its property. When asked if it felt comfortable taking money with knowledge of the individual, it said it couldn’t comment.