Updated: Aug 1
6 June 2023 – The Hong Kong government applied for a court injunction to ban ‘Glory to Hong Kong’, the unofficial anthem of the 2019 pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. Following ‘Glory to Hong Kong’ being played at multiple international sporting events rather than the official Chinese national anthem, the Hong Kong authorities are attempting to prevent the dissemination of the song including its lyrics, melody and other versions in foreign languages and sign language.
The Hong Kong government said the song has “insulted the national anthem but also caused serious damage to the country and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.” The Hong Kong authorities also added that despite the guarantee of free speech in the Basic Law, the “freedom of speech is not absolute. The application pursues the legitimate aim of safeguarding national security.”
Previously the Hong Kong government asked Google to alter their search results to ensure the Chinese national anthem, and not ‘Glory to Hong Kong’, appears as the top search result for Hong Kong’s national anthem. Google refused, citing that it does not “manually manipulate organic web listings to determine the ranking of a specific page”. The Hong Kong government said it would make another request to Google.
For now, the Hong Kong government is putting Hong Kongers and the Hong Kong diaspora at risk under the National Security Law should they listen to or sing ‘Glory to Hong Kong’.
Jemimah Steinfeld, Editor-in-Chief at Index on Censorship, said:
“Google has made the right decision to not modify its search results to display China's national anthem instead of ‘Glory to Hong Kong’ in relation to searches for Hong Kong’s national anthem. We must resist Beijing setting and normalising terms.”
Mark Clifford, the President of the Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong Foundation, said:
“This is a clear overreach by the Hong Kong authorities. The Chinese Communist Party’s efforts to make it illegal to sing songs at gatherings reveals their astonishing levels of paranoia and Soviet-like control over Hong Kongers no matter where in the world they call home. The Hong Kong authorities are so insecure that the simple singing of a patriotic song is considered a threat to them. We commend Google and call on big technology firms to be wary of their interactions with the Hong Kong authorities who continue to act as puppets of the Chinese regime.”