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Hong Kong broadcaster ViuTV cancels show over star’s pro-independence stance

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By Charlotte McEleny, Asia Editor

October 20, 2016 | 3 min read

A local Hong Kong broadcaster is in dispute with the stars of one of its TV shows after it canceled the episodes they appear in due to their pro-independence stance.

ViuTV

ViuTV cancels shows due to star's pro-Hong Kong independence discussion

The episodes of reality show Travel with rivals was due to feature guest star Wang Dan, an exiled mainland pro-democracy activist, and former University of Hong Kong student union leader Billy Fung Jing-en.

While filming in Japan the pair took part in a press conference in which the pair discussed pro-independence topics. The station has distanced itself from the press conference, releasing a statement this week that said the pair had organised it themselves.

According to reports, ViuTv said it was cancelling any shots of the pair in teh series because it was “extremely disappointed and angry” about the “improper speeches”.

The statement read: “The pro-independence speeches not only insulted [China’s] national dignity, but were also deceiving” and that it “reserves its legal right to pursue anyone who used or would use the station to advocate Hong Kong independence.”

However, Wang has now issued a counter-statement claiming that the press conference was organized by the station and that the decision to cancel the clips comes from pressure from Beijing.

“To the channel’s top management: whatever the reason you did this, I think the world will know; it was understandable if [you] came under pressure from Beijing. It’s fine if you quietly pull the episode, but lying blatantly and falsely accusing us of holding a press conference without authorisation – this has gone beyond the limit of being a human,” read his statement.

Hong Kong independence is a highly political issue and has seen many brands take action to distance themselves from controversy. Earlier this year, Lancome, Watsons and Listerine distanced themselves from Canto-pop star Denise Ho because of her outspoken views on politics in Greater China.

The BBC has also faced a ban in mainland China during protests for Hong Kong independence last year.

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