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Hong Kong: Government bid to ban protest song signals continuing move against freedoms

© Jimmy Lam @everydayaphoto

Government makes move to ban protest song

‘Glory to Hong Kong’ became popular during 2019 mass demonstrations

‘A song is not a threat to national security’ - Sarah Brooks

Responding to the Hong Kong government’s bid today to seek a court order to prohibit people from singing, broadcasting or distributing the protest song “Glory to Hong Kong”, Sarah Brooks, Amnesty International’s Head of the China Team, said:

“The Hong Kong government’s absurd campaign to outlaw a song shows just how little respect it has for human rights.

“Banning ‘Glory to Hong Kong’ would be in clear contradiction of international human rights law and standards.

“It is a further concern that the Government has tried to justify the banning request by referring to the deeply problematic National Security Law.

“The Hong Kong government must end its increasingly fervent crackdown on freedom of expression. A song is not a threat to national security, and national security may not be used as an excuse to deny people the right to express different political views.”

Popular protest anthem

‘Glory to Hong Kong’ gained prominence in 2019 during mass protests in the city. Hong Kong’s Department of Justice said on 6 June that it sought to ban the “broadcasting, performing, printing, publishing, selling, offering for sale, distributing, disseminating, displaying or reproducing in any way”. Its lyrics and melody would also be banned.

Under international human rights standards, expression cannot be punished on national security grounds unless the authorities demonstrate an intention ‘to incite imminent violence’. The singing, broadcasting or distributing of ‘Glory to Hong Kong’ patently does not meet this threshold.

The Government said people who engage with the song in any of the ways described could be prosecuted either under a colonial-era “sedition” law or charged with “secession” under the National Security Law, potentially leading to life imprisonment.

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