The Hong Kong government has ordered an investigation after a Hong Kong pro-democracy protest anthem played instead of China’s national anthem at a rugby match final in South Korea.
“Glory to Hong Kong”, the unofficial anthem of the Hong Kong protests, played during the Asia Rugby Sevens Series game between Hong Kong and South Korea in Incheon on Sunday Nov. 13.
The Chinese national anthem “March of the Volunteers” should have played instead. Hong Kong shares the national anthem with China since it gained sovereignty in 1997.
Footage of the incident, which showed the Hong Kong team maintaining straight faces during the song, has gone viral online.
The song consists of lyrics such as “Keep your head high, refuse to stay silent, shout, scream, as we hope for freedom to return”, as well as “May a new dawn liberate Hong Kong. Band together, brothers and sisters, for the revolution of our time. May democracy and freedom reign eternally, glory to Hong Kong!”
In response, the Hong Kong government demanded a “full investigation”.
“The National Anthem is a symbol of our country. The organiser of the tournament has a duty to ensure that the National Anthem receives the respect it warranted,” a government spokesman said in a press release on Monday, according to Hong Kong Free Press.
“[W]e have already written to the Hong Kong Rugby Union last evening demanding them to deal with this matter seriously, launch a full and in-depth investigation and submit a detailed report, and convey our strong objection to Asia Rugby, who is the organiser of the Series,” the statement read.
It said it “strongly deplores and opposes” a song “closely associated with violent protests and the ‘independence’ movement in 2019” being played.
The government said Asia Rugby had apologized, saying that the Hong Kong team had provided the correct anthem but a junior staff member had made a mistake.
Asia Rugby appears to have since removed the live stream of the event.
Hong Kong won the match 19 to 12 but has not celebrated it on social media.
The song, “Glory to Hong Kong” was written and published by a musician with the contribution of a group of activists during the 2019 Hong Kong pro-democracy protests “to boost protesters’ morale and unite people,” according to the group.