Between 2005 to 2014, Cantonese pop singer Denise Ho was consistently one of the bestselling artists in Hong Kong. If you search today for her breakout album hocc² on China's major music streaming sites, like Koguo and NetEase, or mainland China's iTunes store, however, you won't find a thing.
Her music has been censored out of existence on the Chinese internet.
The 39-year-old artist is a vocal supporter of Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement. She's written music for the Umbrella Revolution. She was detained at a rally in 2014. This past June, Ho had a concert cancelled because nationalist internet users put pressure on sponsor Lancôme for presenting what they characterized as an outspoken and controversial advocate for Tibetan and Hong Kong independence.
A little over a week ago, China Digital Times reports, a user on Weibo (a Chinese micro-blogging platform like Twitter) noticed that Ho's discography had been filtered or deleted from the major music and video streaming services. Searches for “Denise Ho” (何韵诗) on NetEase Cloud Music, Xiami, and Bilibili are currently blocked and the iTunes stores returns no results.
In the past, authorities have openly announced bans, like this 2015 list of rap songs deemed "too vulgar," but thus far, state media has made no comment on the disappearance of Ho's music, which, Quartz says, suggests censors are acting secretly, in a way that won't draw too much attention to the removal.