On November 13, an incident occurred during the Asian Rugby Sevens in the South Korea tournament; the organizers played the wrong national anthem when the Hong Kong players received the award. The song played was not the Chinese national anthem, “March of the Volunteers,” but instead, “Glory to Hongkong.”

The organizer of this international event has stated that the search results for the Hong Kong national anthem on Google are “Glory to Hong Kong.”

Indeed, when searching for “Hong Kong National Anthem” on Google in both Chinese and English, the song “Glory to Hong Kong,” a typical song in the anti-extradition bill movement of 2019, appeared at the top or in a prominent position.

This incident was repeated on December 2 at the Asian Classic Bodybuilding Championships held in Dubai. The Hong Kong national anthem was again played when Hong Kong athlete Lian Weizhen won the gold medal, not the Chinese National Anthem.

After these incidents, the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong asked Google to edit the search results to bring the Chinese national anthem “to the top.”

However, Google refused because it could not control the algorithm.

Google stipulates that it will only remove content involving child pornography, “bottoming out,” spam, and content voluntarily requested by the page holder and reasonably required by law.

China’s Secretary of Security, Tang Bingqiang, said that Google’s statement that search results are based on algorithms and cannot be changed is incredible. “Hong Kong people will not accept it.”

He said Google had earlier stated it would follow the European Court of Justice (CJEU) instructions to delete obviously inaccurate search results. He questioned that Google’s rejection of the Hong Kong government’s request for correction was a “double standard” and that Google owed Hong Kong citizens an explanation.

However, the current rule from CJEU that Deng Bingqiang referred to was a case involving an individual’s request that Google will delete inaccurate personal references about them to protect their “right to be forgotten. Different from the Hong Kong government’s request.

The Hong Kong SAR government said they would continue negotiating with Google about their request.

“Glory to Hong Kong” is a protest song composed and widely sung by participants of the 2019 Hong Kong Anti-Extradition Bill Movement. Some protesters said the song gave them feel of listening to the national anthem, a collective sense of pride in the homeland, even calling it the “national anthem” of Hong Kong.

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