A well-known protest hymn from Hong Kong was taken down from internet services like Spotify and Apple’s iTunes a few days after the government started legal action to prevent the song from being sung in public.
The song “Glory to Hong Kong” was written and made famous during the huge pro-democracy demonstrations that took place in the city in 2019. In the last few months, “Glory to Hong Kong” has been mistakenly played at international sporting events as the city’s anthem, which has angered the local administration.
Following Beijing’s imposition of a stringent national security ordinance in Hong Kong in 2020 in an effort to quiet unrest, the authorities claimed that the song encouraged separatist thoughts and so prohibited it from being played in schools.
The government took the further step of requesting the courts in Hong Kong to prohibit the song last week, and the injunction motion is set to be heard by the judges in Hong Kong the following month.
As of Friday, the music was no longer playable on the streaming services provided by Spotify or iTunes; nevertheless, numerous copies of the song could still be found on YouTube.
Officials in Hong Kong have been critical of the search giant Google for adding the phrase “Glory to Hong Kong” in its search results for some months now. They believe that this has caused to confusion during athletic events that have been staged in other countries.
Since the beginning of the previous year, the organizers of several events have made the error of playing the protest song as Hong Kong’s anthem rather than the “March of the Volunteers,” which is the Chinese national anthem.
In the past, Google has maintained that it does not alter search results and has declined to delist the music.
The anonymous author of the song, DGX Music, explained in a post on Facebook that it was dealing with “technical issues unrelated to streaming platforms” at the time, which resulted in a “temporary impact” when the song was taken from Spotify on Wednesday.
Spotify has stated to the local media that the music was pulled not by the company itself but by one of its distributors.
Following the submission of the injunction order by the government, the song spent multiple days at the top of the download rankings on iTunes last week.
Apple did not reply to a request for comment.
Under the provisions of the security law, the police in Hong Kong have the authority to direct internet platforms to delete anything that is judged to “endanger national security.”
In the event that compliance is not met, the offender faces a maximum penalty of six months in prison and a fine of HK$100,000 ($12,800).