Hong Kong Appeals Court Bans ‘Glory to Hong Kong’ Protest Song

An appeals court in Hong Kong granted the government's request to ban the popular protest song "Glory to Hong Kong," overturning an earlier ruling. The song, frequently sung during the 2019 anti-government protests, was mistakenly played as the city's anthem at international sporting events, causing confusion. Critics argue that banning the song further undermines freedom of expression amid Beijing's crackdown on Hong Kong following the protests.

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Hong Kong Appeals Court Bans ‘Glory to Hong Kong’ Protest Song

An appeals court in Hong Kong has upheld the government’s request to ban the protest anthem “Glory to Hong Kong,” a song that became symbolic of the 2019 anti-government demonstrations. The decision reverses a previous ruling and signifies a crucial juncture in the city’s ongoing struggle between maintaining its distinct freedoms and adhering to Beijing’s tightening grip.

Why It Matters 

The ban on “Glory to Hong Kong” is more than just a restriction on a piece of music; it represents a broader crackdown on freedom of expression in a city that once prided itself on its autonomy and vibrant political discourse. Critics argue that the prohibition not only stifles individual expression but also signals potential challenges for international tech companies operating in the city, possibly affecting Hong Kong’s status as a global business hub.

Judge Jeremy Poon’s assertion that the song was intended as a “weapon” underscores the government’s stance on dissent and its commitment to suppress actions perceived as subversive. The injunction aims to compel internet platforms to remove content related to the song, which authorities believe could incite separatist sentiments or insult the national anthem.

Despite the ban, “Glory to Hong Kong” remains accessible on major streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music, and multiple renditions are still available on YouTube. The response from tech giants Google, Spotify, and Apple to the court’s decision has yet to be seen.

The government’s legal battle over the song began last year when Google resisted demands to prioritize China’s national anthem in search results over the protest anthem. A lower court’s rejection of the government’s initial bid was viewed as a setback for officials determined to quell dissent following the widespread protests.

The appeal by the government posited that the executive authority’s judgment on necessary measures should be upheld by the courts, barring any assessment that such measures would be ineffective. This legal stance reflects the administration’s view on the limits of free speech, which, while constitutionally protected, is not considered absolute by the authorities.

The international community watches closely, as the outcome could have far-reaching implications for civil liberties, the operation of global tech firms, and the future of Hong Kong’s unique cultural and political identity.

Key Takeaways

  • Hong Kong appeals court upholds government's request to ban protest anthem "Glory to Hong Kong."
  • Decision signifies crackdown on freedom of expression and broader struggle between city's autonomy and Beijing's control.
  • Critics argue ban stifles individual expression and poses challenges for international tech companies.
  • Judge asserts song was intended as a "weapon" to incite separatist sentiments; injunction aims to remove related content from internet platforms.
  • Despite ban, song remains accessible on major streaming platforms.