No Protest Song Allowed | God's World News

No Protest Song Allowed

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    People sing “Glory to Hong Kong” at a shopping mall in Hong Kong in 2019. On May 8, an appeals court granted the Hong Kong government’s request to ban the protest song. (AP/Vincent Yu)


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No singing allowed. The rousing anthem “Glory to Hong Kong” was declared off limits on May 8. An appeals court granted the China-controlled Hong Kong government’s request to ban the popular protest song. The decision overturned an earlier ruling.

Demonstrators often sang “Glory to Hong Kong” during huge anti-government protests in 2019. The song was later played supposedly by mistake as the city’s anthem at international sporting events instead of China’s “March of the Volunteers.” The mix-up upset city officials.

This is the first time a song has been banned in the city since Great Britain handed Hong Kong back to Chinese rule in 1997. Officials have reduced democratic freedoms in the region since then.

Judge Jeremy Poon wrote that the composer intended for the song to be a “weapon.” He says his ruling was necessary to persuade internet platform operators to remove “problematic videos in connection with the song.”

BBC reports the song now cannot be “broadcast, performed, shared, or reproduced in any setting” in which users seek to encourage secession or sedition against the Hong Kong government. Those who disobey the ban could face up to life imprisonment.

The song can still be played for lawful “academic” or “news” activities.

Critics say prohibiting the song reduces freedom of expression. They also warn the ban might disrupt tech giants and hurt Hong Kong’s appeal as a business center.

The government also went to court last year. Google had resisted pressure to display China’s national anthem as the top result in searches for the city’s anthem instead of the protest song. In July, a lower court rejected the bid to ban the song and force Google to alter internet results. The decision was widely seen as a setback for officials seeking to crush opponents following the protests.

The government had already asked schools to ban the song on campuses since 2020. It previously said it respected freedoms protected by the city’s constitution, “but freedom of speech is not absolute.”

“Glory to Hong Kong” was composed and written in Cantonese by a musician under the pseudonym Thomas. He first posted an instrumental version with lyrics in 2019 in an online forum. The forum fostered the exchange of views for those in Hong Kong who support democracy. The song went viral.

Thomas welcomed the lyric suggestion “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times.” That phrase became one of the most commonly chanted at protests.

In a 2019 interview with Time magazine, Thomas said, “Music is a tool for unity. I really felt like we needed a song to unite us and boost our morale.” The song includes the line, “May people reign, proud and free, now and evermore.”

Thomas adds, “The message to listeners is that despite the unhappiness and uncertainty of our time, Hong Kong people will not surrender.”

The Lord works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed. — Psalm 103:6