Hong Kong press reported that on November 14, Chief Secretary for Administration Eric Chan met with the Consul General of South Korea in Hong Kong to express his strong dissatisfaction with the Korean side mistakenly playing the anti-extradition song “Glory to Hong Kong” as the national anthem during a rugby match held in Incheon, South Korea. He also required a thorough investigation into the matter.
Chan emphasized that the Asian Rugby Football Union explained that the incident was the fault of an employee of the local host organization and apologized for the incident. However, the Hong Kong government has expressed its extreme displeasure at the fact that the union, as an organizer with extensive experience in organizing competitions, did not cooperate with the local organizers to prevent the incident from happening.
According to Taiwan’s Central News Agency, it is rare for the British Hong Kong government to meet with the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government, to express dissatisfaction.
Wang Yanlin, a research assistant at Taiwan’s National Security Research Institute, told Sound of Hope, “Hong Kong can no longer decide what they will do. The Hong Kong government met with the Korean consul general in Hong Kong to oppose it since they are afraid of Beijing’s wrath.”
According to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Chan also said that the police will investigate whether the case is related to a conspiracy to violate the National Anthem Ordinance or other laws of Hong Kong.
In addition, the Hong Kong government has requested the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union to conduct an investigation and submit a detailed report.
Lawyer Sang Pu, a senior commentator on current affairs, told Sound of Hope, “If it was negligence, how can it violate the National Anthem Law? Furthermore, the Hong Kong National Anthem Law has no effect outside the territory, and the actions and results all occurred outside the territory. the law cannot be applied. Going further, you say that you want a ‘cosmic version’ of the national security law, the whole world will stand still? It is tantamount to extending Hong Kong’s version of national security to South Korea, and the Yoon Seok-Yeol government will oppose it.”
Hong Kong government’s pro-establishment camp members condemned the incident. “This is an unforgivable mistake, whatever the reason,” said Chan Yung, member of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB). Junius Ho, who was dubbed the “Wolf Warrior,” questioned the lack of response from members of the Hong Kong rugby team at the time, and demanded that “the Hong Kong rugby team must dissolve!”
Lai Rongwei, assistant professor and commentator at Lunghwa University of Science and Technology, Taiwan, said, “It is also an external manifestation that highlights people’s anxiety and insecurities in China. There is political interference in everything, and tightening of freedom of expression.”
However, CCP officials seem intent on cooling the case down. According to rthk.hk, Mao Ning, a spokeswoman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, only said that the organizer had apologized and the government had responded.
Lai said that the CCP is worried that being too aggressive will scare away foreign talent and investment and it is worried that inciting extreme nationalism would cause a backlash.