Global removal of Hong Kong protest anthem marks a legal victory for authorities

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25th May 2024 – (Hong Kong) The protest song “Glory to Hong Kong,” emblematic of the city’s 2019 demonstrations, has been erased from several international music platforms. This move underscores a significant legal win for the Hong Kong government, which has been intensifying efforts to curb the song’s reach.

Initially, despite an injunction aimed at halting its distribution within Hong Kong, multiple versions of “Glory to Hong Kong” persisted online, accessible on platforms like YouTube. However, the song’s availability has dramatically dwindled worldwide, disappearing from major services such as Apple Music and Spotify as of last Friday. Interestingly, it remains accessible on KKBox, a Taiwan-based platform, highlighting the geographical nuances in the song’s censorship.

The production team behind the anthem, Dgxmusic, reported receiving a directive from Emubands, a Scotland-based digital music distributor, stating the song would be pulled from all platforms due to the Hong Kong court’s injunction. Dgxmusic confirmed the song’s removal from iTunes and Apple Music in several regions through immediate checks on various platforms. They have contested Emubands’ decision, arguing the court order does not apply outside Hong Kong and does not outright ban the song.

The Hong Kong Court of Appeal had previously granted the interim injunction against the song, deeming it a potential tool for anti-government and separatist sentiment. The ruling prohibits any form of broadcasting or distribution of the song that could incite secession or insult the national anthem, “March of the Volunteers.”

Despite the local court ruling, the song had maintained a stubborn online presence, even being mistakenly played instead of China’s national anthem at international sports events. This mishap led to an unsuccessful dialogue between the Hong Kong government and Google, pushing authorities to pursue stricter legal measures.