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Hong Kong’s protest song “Glory to Hong Kong” is feared to be banned by the government

Posted by on 2023/06/12. Filed under Breaking News,China,Headline News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Since the enactment and implementation of the National Security Law by Chinese authorities in Hong Kong in 2020, the political life, civic movements and expression of opinion in the territory have been affected, and May Glory Be to Hong Kong, which became the unofficial “anthem” of marchers during the 2019 pro-democracy protests, seems to be doomed.

Hong Kong’s Secretary for Justice applied to the High Court on June 5 for an injunction against the anonymously written song, which will be heard on Monday.

According to the authorities’ request, the ban includes the release or reproduction of the song in any way, and people may also be banned from performing it in public and distributing it online.

The Hong Kong government claimed that it insulted the national anthem of the People’s Republic of China, March of the Volunteers, and caused serious damage to the country and the SAR.

“March of the Volunteers” is also the official national anthem of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, but in recent months, “Glory to Hong Kong” has been played as the anthem at ceremonies when the city’s national teams in several sports compete in international competitions.

The Hong Kong authorities have accused Google of including the protest song in the results of a search for “Hong Kong national anthem” on its platform.

If the injunction is upheld, it could put U.S. technology companies like Google in a difficult position and become an important case for Hong Kong’s ability to expand its control over online content.

May Glory Be to Hong Kong was first published in August 2019 during the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong on the online discussion board LIHKG, commonly known as “Liandeng”.

The composer, who is signed “Thomas” (Thomas), is a full-time musician in his 20s, and the lyrics were modified by his original lyrics at his request and based on the suggestions of “Liandeng” netizens.

The four-paragraph song, composed in Cantonese, was described as a “military song” when it was posted on the discussion board, with explicit references to “democracy and freedom” and “Building freedom and shining Hong Kong”.

Thomas, who has never revealed his real identity, told BBC Chinese in 2019 that he hoped the song would “unite Hong Kong people and boost public morale”.

He uploaded an instrumental version and lyrics to the forum, and called on netizens to record different versions of themselves singing, collect them and put them together into a cantal-like version, which was posted on YouTube on August 31 – at that time, the symphonic version of the chorus was quickly streamed over a million times.

Starting with the 2014 student protests in Hong Kong known as the Umbrella Movement, singing has been an important form of expression for protesters at the event site.

Protesters often sang Beyond’s “Sea and Sky” at pro-democracy rallies at the time. In 2014, “Hold Up the Umbrella”, composed of several Cantopop singers, became the unofficial theme song of the Umbrella Movement and was voted the most popular song of the year at that year’s “Pop Chart” awards.

Social movements in 2019 include the Christian worship song “Sing Hallelujah to the Lord” and the Broadway musical “Les Miserables.” “Do You Hear the People Sing?” These were the songs that were often sung by protesters at the time.

Among the local songs composed by netizens, only “Glory to Hong Kong” received high attention.

Even after the Hong Kong government withdrew the proposed amendment to the fugitive law, the protests have expanded to include demands for a democratic system and an investigation into police violence.

As the protest movement continued, the song “blossomed everywhere” offline. At the time, choruses and even Musical Instruments were gathered in several major shopping malls in Hong Kong to play the song, and Hong Kong fans sang the song at a World Cup qualifying match for the Hong Kong national team and booed the official national anthem.

Zhou Baosong, a professor at the Department of Politics and Administration at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, told BBC Chinese in 2019 that the song had been sung and played in various ways by participants on multiple occasions of the social movement, and the melody and lyrics had captured the feelings of the public in the context of the protests and resonated, making “many people have a great attachment to this song”.

At the time, many Hong Kong netizens expressed hope that the song would become “our national anthem.”
Pro-beijing media described the song as a “Hong Kong independence” song, and most of the music videos produced online were “advocating and glorifying violence”, as if they were intended to “brainwash” young students and put Hong Kong on a “road of no return” from separation from the country.

In 2020, the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress enacted the Hong Kong National Security Law, which gives the judiciary broad powers to crack down on dissent, including banning protest songs.
After the implementation of the National Security Law, public street rallies and demonstrations have basically stopped, and the Hong Kong authorities have listed “May Glory Be to Hong Kong” as a banned song in schools, and the controversial incident about this song is still entering the public’s vision in different forms.

In 2021, an online media reporter posted the awarding clip of Hong Kong fencer Zhang Jialang winning the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympic Games with “May Glory Return to Hong Kong” on the Internet, and held up the “British Hong Kong flag” in the shopping mall. He was charged with insulting the national anthem a year later and spent three months in prison.

In September 2022, on the occasion of the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, when Hong Kong people went to the British Consulate General in Hong Kong to pay their respects, some people played “Glory” on the street and were taken away by the police.

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