This week the authorities asked a court to ban the public performance and online dissemination of “Glory to Hong Kong.” The move could ensnare U.S. technology companies like Google and set up the first legal test of how much control the Hong Kong government can wield over online content.
Hong Kong is seeking to prohibit the distribution or reproduction of the song “in any way,” including adaptations of its “melody or lyrics,” the government said in a statement on Tuesday.
It said that the song had been used to “insult” the Chinese national anthem, “The March of the Volunteers,” causing “serious damage to the country” and to Hong Kong.
In applying for the court injunction against the Hong Kong protest anthem, the government cites its national security law, which was enacted in 2020 and gave Beijing sweeping powers to crack down on what it deemed to be political crimes, including separatism and collusion.
Critics say the national security law was written with the intent of policing conduct even outside of Hong Kong.
For years, even as China has been largely closed off to foreign internet companies, Hong Kong remained an exception — a hub where foreign businesses could operate relatively free of the censorship controls they would face on the mainland.