Since last year, the song Glory to Hong Kong has become the unofficial anthem of the pro-democracy protesters in the city. After the National Security Law was implemented in Hong Kong by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), an outright ban was announced against singing the Hong Kong protest song in schools and public areas. Despite the administration trying to forcefully eradicate the revolutionary song, its creator Thomas believes that the song will survive and resonate with Hongkongers for a long time.
Banning the song
The song was released in August last year and featured lyrics co-written by netizens. In September, the song was played at a demonstration that urged President Trump to liberate Hong Kong. The song spoke of freedom and democracy and included the famous line that has become an often-used slogan — “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times.” The song kept playing on a loop outside the consulate and people started talking about it.
A couple of days later at a soccer match between Hong Kong and Iran, protesters booed when the Chinese national anthem was played and defiantly sung Glory to Hong Kong. The very next day, hundreds of protesters on the streets sang the song while waving their mobile phones and placing their hands over their hearts. By this time, Glory to Hong Kong was already well-known, even attracting international attention. It was soon made available on music streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music. The lyrics were translated into several languages, including Japanese, English, and French.
In recent months, the Hong Kong administration has been cracking down on people who come together publicly to sing Glory to Hong Kong. Anyone caught at a “sing with you” event will be slapped with a penalty of US$258 under the pretense of violating COVID-19 restrictions placed on public gatherings. After the National Security Law was passed, the government outlawed the slogan “Liberate Hong Kong,” stating that it has secessionist qualities. The Education Bureau banned school students from playing Glory to Hong Kong on campuses, alleging that the song was linked to violence and contained “strong political messages.”
Thomas remarks that he had already expected the government to suppress the song. However, he is sure that Hongkongers won’t back down easily and will continue singing Glory to Hong Kong during protests. Even if the Chinese regime takes extreme steps to erase the song from the public sphere, Thomas is sure that it won’t disappear completely. He reasons that the song might go underground and everyone will remember it.
The Hong Kong administration recently revoked the license of a teacher following accusations that the person was propagating the independence of Hong Kong in classrooms. Beijing has long believed that Hong Kong’s schools encourage opposition to the Communist Party and is currently in the process of gaining complete control over the education system. Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam called the expulsion of the teacher a necessary act to weed out “bad apples.”
The teacher had apparently shown students a documentary about pro-independence activist Andy Chan Ho-tin and gave students worksheets with questions about free speech and independence. One father who read the worksheet noted that there was nothing objectionable in it. “If our kids in Hong Kong are not equipped with critical-thinking skills, I’m afraid there will be more education problems in the future,” he said to BBC. The largest teachers’ union in Hong Kong has accused officials of carrying out an unfair investigation.