Hong Kong's executive said Tuesday it had asked a court to ban the pro-democracy chant that emerged during the city-territory's massive 2019 protests.
If the courts rule in favour of the Hong Kong authorities, Glory to Hong Kong would become the first song to be legally banned since the handover of this former British colony to China in 1997. This song, written by an anonymous author, had resounded for the first time in the city in August 2019, and had become the anthem of the huge and sometimes violent demonstrations in favor of democracy.
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Hong Kong's executive said Tuesday it had decided to go to court after the song was repeatedly played instead of the Chinese national anthem at sporting events abroad. Since last November, Glory to Hong Kong has repeatedly sounded at international sporting events, sparking exasperation among the authorities.
Officially, Hong Kong does not have a national anthem, but China's Volunteer March, is traditionally played. Any insult to the national anthem is punishable by three to two years' imprisonment.
The injunction that the Hong Kong authorities are asking the courts to adopt "is intended to prevent anyone from broadcasting or performing, etc., the song with the intention of inciting others to secede, or with seditious intent, or... with the intention of offending the national anthem." The executive also seeks to ban "any adaptation" of the song or its melody. He asked the search engine Google to remove the protest song from its search results, but the US giant refused to comply.
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It is already illegal to sing the song or play the melody in Hong Kong, under a drastic national security law imposed in 2020 by Beijing to muzzle political dissent.
The musicians who performed it in public were prosecuted by the authorities. Li Jiexin, 69, is currently on trial for "unlicensed performance" after performing Glory to Hong Kong with an erhu, a Chinese two-stringed instrument, throughout the city in 2021 and 2022.