HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong’s government said Tuesday it is seeking a court order to prohibit people from broadcasting or distributing the protest song “Glory to Hong Kong” after it was mistakenly played as the city’s anthem at several international sporting events in the past year.
In a statement, the Department of Justice said it had applied for an injunction Monday to prohibit unlawful acts relating to the song, which became an unofficial anthem for the 2019 pro-democracy protests. It is awaiting court direction and for a hearing date to be fixed.
The government said the lyrics of the song contain slogans that have been ruled by the court as “constituting secession” and that it is highly likely that the song will continue to be widely used given that it had been mistakenly played as Hong Kong’s anthem instead of China’s national anthem, “March of the Volunteers.”
In 2020, the government outlawed the protest slogan “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times” for being secessionist and subversive. The “Glory to Hong Kong” lyrics contain parts of the slogan and was therefore widely considered to be banned.
Hong Kong wanted to prohibit anyone from “broadcasting, performing, printing, publishing, selling, offering for sale, distributing, disseminating, displaying or reproducing in any way” the protest song, or any adaptations of it that are substantially similar to the original in melody and lyrics.
In particular, the injunction targets anyone who uses “Glory to Hong Kong” to advocate for the separation of Hong Kong from China, such as inciting others to commit secession or sedition, as well as anyone who uses the song to suggest that Hong Kong is independent or to insult the national anthem.
The injunction also seeks to restrain those who allow others to commit similar acts.
In a statement attached to the injunction, the HKSAR Government said it “respects and values the rights and freedoms protected by the Basic Law (including freedom of speech), but freedom of speech is not absolute.”
“The application pursues the legitimate aim of safeguarding national security and is necessary, reasonable, legitimate, and consistent with the Bill of Rights,” the statement read.