Instead of playing China’s National Anthem during a medal ceremony, organizers of a weightlifting competition in Dubai played the unofficial anthem of the 2019 pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.
“Glory to Hong Kong,” the song during mass pro-democracy protests in 2019, was banned in 2020. At that time, Beijing imposed a national security law to crack down on free speech, the free press and free association.
According to The Washington Post, the internet video showed the incident at a medal ceremony at the Asian Classic Powerlifting Championship 2022 in Dubai on December 2. Susanna Lin of Hong Kong took the podium after winning the women’s 47kg open competition.
When she noticed something went wrong with the anthem, Lin quickly gestured the “T” for the timeout sign with her hands to the organizers. Then the music abruptly stopped.
As Radio Free Asia reported that after a voice over a public address system demanded everyone to rise for the national anthem of Hong Kong. The first strains of “Glory to Hong Kong” with the English lyrics, “We pledge no more tears on our land; in wrath, doubts dispelled, we make our stand” can be heard playing.
The organizers then played again China’s actual national anthem, the “March of the Volunteers.”
The Hong Kong government expressed “deplored” for the mistake. Yet, it commended Lin and other Hong Kong officials for following guidelines and responding immediately.
A statement on December 3 stated, “The [Hong Kong] government recognizes the action taken by the Hong Kong representatives on the spot which upheld national dignity.”
However, some online users seemed delighted by the incident.
It added that the Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China would conduct an investigation into the incident.
Last month, the same incident happened at the men’s final of the Sevens Series rugby tournament between South Korea and Hong Kong, which took place in Incheon City in South Korea.
Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu stated, “Asia Rugby has already apologized but, given the national anthem is a serious matter, the city authority will write to it demanding a probe into the incident.”