Pro-democracy anthem removed from major platforms in Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s government views the song ‘Glory to Hong Kong’ as incompatible with national interest, while critics argue that it stifles political expression.

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Multiple versions of the pro-democracy protest song ‘Glory to Hong Kong’ have been removed from platforms such as Apple’s iTunes Store, Spotify, KKBOX, Facebook, and Instagram’s Reels. The government of Hong Kong sought an injunction to ban the song completely. Searches for the song on these platforms only displayed a version by the Taiwanese rock band The Chairman. 

The song, which became the unofficial anthem of Hong Kong’s 2019 pro-democracy protests, was also taken down from Spotify, with the platform stating the distributor removed it. The song’s creator, DGX Music, mentioned technical issues unrelated to the platform and apologised for the inconvenience. The ban on the song follows instances of it being played mistakenly at international events. 

Hong Kong’s government considers the song incompatible with the national interest, while critics argue it violates the right to express political views. The national security law imposed by China in 2020 led to the song being banned in schools. As stated in a writ, the government aims to ban performances, dissemination, and adaptations of the song. The High Court will hear the interim injunction application on 21 July. The government requested opponents of the injunction to contact the police by 21 June. 

The song’s popularity surged after the government announced its intention to ban it, and overseas Hongkongers have appealed to radio stations worldwide to broadcast it. Some stations in countries like Australia, France, Ukraine, Denmark, and Estonia have played the song. Apple, KKBOX, Google, and Meta (Facebook and Instagram’s owner) did not immediately comment on the situation.