4th March 2023 – (Hong Kong) In the recent IIHF World Championship Division III of the 2023 Ice Hockey World Championship that took place in Bosnia, an unfortunate incident occurred, causing chaos and confusion among the teams and organisers alike. During the game, when the Hong Kong team was about to start playing, the organiser played the protest song “Glory to Hong Kong” instead of the correct national anthem. This blunder caused a major uproar, leading to the Hong Kong team calling for a halt to the proceedings.

The Sports Federation & Olympic Committee (SF&OC) of Hong Kong issued a statement today (3rd) stating that the Hong Kong Ice Hockey Association failed to comply with the “Guidelines on Handling the Playing of the National Anthem and Raising of the Regional Flag for Hong Kong Athletes and Teams Engaging in International Sports Events.” These guidelines include providing a toolkit, which consists of the correct version of the national anthem and two regional flags, to ensure that the right versions are used at international sports events. The Hong Kong team’s unfortunate experience during the IIHF World Championship is a clear example of the importance of following these guidelines.

In response to this incident, Pui Kwan-kay, Vice-President of the Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, spoke recently on a radio program, expressing his views on the matter. He pointed out that many organisers of international competitions rely on Internet search engines to locate the national anthems of participating teams. However, search engines often rank incorrect songs first, leading to repeated mistakes. Pui believes that it is the responsibility of the government to negotiate with Internet providers like Google to ensure that the correct national anthem is prioritised. He also mentioned that when Hong Kong teams play overseas, it is difficult for team leaders to constantly monitor the organisers’ staff.

It is worth noting that a search on Google on the national anthem of Hong Kong as of today still shows ‘God Save the King,’ the national anthem of the British Empire that ruled British Hong Kong from 1841 to 1941, and also ‘Glory to Hong Kong,’ the protest song. This search engine has stubbornly refused to alter its search results to display China’s national anthem “March of the Volunteers” instead of a protest song when people search for Hong Kong’s national anthem. The Hong Kong government has urged the tech giant to show Chinese national anthem March of the Volunteers when keywords like “Hong Kong” and “national anthem” are searched. However, even if you ask Google ‘What anthem plays when Hong Kong wins,’ the search results still respond with ‘Glory to Hong Kong’ being played during a match between Hong Kong Portugal on 6th November 2022. This creates confusion for organisers if their staff are not familiar with the national anthem of Hong Kong.

There could be a few reasons why a latest news article on an existing topic like “Hong Kong National Anthem” may not appear at the top of search results:

  1. Search algorithms may prioritise more popular or frequently searched articles, even if they are older, over newer articles that are less popular or have not yet accumulated enough engagement.
  2. The search engine may not have crawled or indexed the new article yet, meaning it hasn’t had a chance to be ranked in the search results.
  3. There may be a lot of competition for the specific search query, meaning the new article may not have enough authority or relevance to outrank other established sources.

Search results are determined by complex algorithms that take into account many different factors, including keywords, relevance, authority, and popularity. These algorithms are constantly changing and evolving, so it’s possible for the ranking of search results to fluctuate over time and hence, inaccuracy on search results may ensue.

Nevertheless, when the same question is posed to AI bots such as Sage, ChatGPT and Dragonfly, the search result returned correctly as “March of the Volunteers.” Perhaps, organisers should consider using AI bots to verify the national anthem the next time a Hong Kong team participates in an international event. This would eliminate the risk of blunders caused by human error or search engine rankings, ensuring that the right national anthem is played every time. These bots, unlike human searchers, are less prone to errors and are better equipped to handle the nuances and complexities of natural language.

Google search results continue to show the wrong national anthem for Hong Kong.