A popular Taiwanese heavy metal band which advocates independence for the island announced Saturday it had been forced to cancel a show in Hong Kong after failing to get visas in time.

“The Hong Kong government has kept delaying and has yet to issue work visas… We have no choice but to cancel the show,” ChthoniC, one of Asia’s best-known black metal bands, said in a statement on their verified Facebook account.

Chthonic. Photo: Chthonic, via Facebook.

Denise Ho, a pro-democracy canto-pop star who had invited ChthoniC to perform at a festival, said in a Facebook post that immigration officials have not responded to the applications, which were filed in November.

The website for Hong Kong’s immigration authorities states work visas can take up to four weeks to process, but in her post Ho said music acts usually get approval within a week.

“This is purely an exchange of music. What to be afraid of?” Ho added.

AFP has reached out to Hong Kong’s immigration department for comment.

ChthoniC was founded in 1995 by Freddy Lim, a pro-independence lawmaker in Taipei. The rocker-turned-politician defeated a veteran MP in Taiwan’s 2016 parliamentary election.

Lim was denied a travel visa to Hong Kong that year.

His New Power Party calls for Taiwan to be recognised internationally as a country.

Beijing still sees Taiwan as part of its territory to be reunified, despite the two sides being ruled separately since the end of a civil war on the mainland in 1949.

In recent years, concern has also grown in Hong Kong about its freedoms disappearing as China tightens its grip on the semi-autonomous city.

A senior Financial Times journalist’s visa renewal was rejected earlier this year after he hosted a speech at Hong Kong’s press club by Andy Chan, the leader of a tiny pro-independence political party. Authorities did not provide an explanation for the rejection.

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