New publicity boost for ‘Glory to Hong Kong’

If you want people to forget or ignore a piece of music, it might be a good idea to keep quiet about it. But instead, the Hong Kong government forces Glory to Hong Kong into the limelight again by applying for a court injunction to ban the song. From the press statement

…The Song has been widely circulated since 2019. The lyrics of the Song contain slogan which has been ruled by the Court as constituting secession. Recently, the Song has also been mistakenly presented as the “national anthem of Hong Kong” (instead of the correct one “March of the Volunteers”) repeatedly … In order to discharge the constitutional responsibility of the HKSAR Government to safeguard national security by effectively preventing, suppressing and imposing punishment on acts or activities endangering national security, after careful consideration, the HKSAR Government has decided to apply to the Court for an injunction restraining any person from performing any of the following acts…

[lengthy list of online and other dissemination modes]

…   (i) with the intent of and in circumstances capable of inciting others to commit secession, contrary to Article 21 of the National Security Law; or

   (ii) with a seditious intention as defined in section 9 of the Crimes Ordinance;

Plus enabling others to do the same, etc. (The Standard summarizes it as ‘banning anything to do with’ the song.)

So YouTube/Google will be liable for hosting/listing their multiple versions of the song? Where would that lead? Going full Great Firewall is second only to taxing capital gains as a way to drive people out.

Quick explanation of why the authorities are using an injunction. 

Will injunctions become the Hong Kong equivalent of a fatwa – offering the government a way to swiftly ban things without drafting and passing/amending legislation? For example, graven images of candles in the first week of June?

Are there any other jurisdictions in the world where a specific melody (‘an arrangement of single notes to form a musically satisfying sequence’) is deemed to threaten national security?

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23 Responses to New publicity boost for ‘Glory to Hong Kong’

  1. Nury Vee says:

    We need a new anthem of course: Orwell steps in…

    Beasts of Hong Kong, and of China,
    Beasts of every land and clime,
    Hearken to my joyful tidings
    Of the golden future time.

    Soon or late the day is coming,
    The trans commies shall be o’erthrown,
    And the fields of the New Territories
    Shall be built on for people’s benefit alone.

    Rings shall vanish from our noses,
    And the landlords from our back,
    Paddy wagons shall rust forever,
    Coppers’ truncheons no more shall crack.

    Riches more than mind can picture,
    Low rents, cheap restaurants, reasonable pay,
    Competitive supermarkets, no price fixing,
    Shall be ours upon that day.

    Bright will shine the faces in Hong Kong,
    Purer shall its waters be,
    Sweeter yet shall blow its breezes
    On the day that the petrol lobby sets us free.

    For that day we all must labour,
    Though we die before it break;
    Cabbies, coolies, teachers, waiters,
    All must toil for freedom’s sake.

    Beasts of Hong, beasts of Kowloon,
    Beasts of every land and clime,
    Hearken well and spread my tidings
    Of the golden future time.”

  2. Reactor #4 says:

    I’m glad the song is banned because its dirge-like pacing gets on my tits. Also, I used to be irritated by the smug expressions people had just before they sang it (a lot like Anglicans as they are about to enter church for a summer’s evensong).

  3. Chinese Netizen says:

    What a bunch of SBs.

  4. Nury Vee says:

    Reactor #4 : Cheer up..Beasts of Hong Kong is sung to a combination of two songs: “Clementine,” and “La Cucaracha,” a Spanish song associated with the Mexican Revolution…feet tappin’, lip smackin’, finger lickin’ good!

  5. so&so says:

    Sex Pistols: God Save The Queen (1977)

  6. Chris Maden says:

    @Reactor #4: Is there anything that doean’t get on your tits?

  7. FishChris says:

    “In order to discharge the constitutional responsibility of the HKSAR Government to safeguard national security by effectively preventing, suppressing and imposing punishment on acts or activities endangering national security, after careful consideration,” – the patriots have gone full ChatGPT with the North Korea extension.

    Methinks the consideration was not particularly careful
    1. making sure of avoiding potential danger, mishap, or harm; cautious.
    2. done with or showing thought and attention.

  8. FishChris says:

    Regarding your question not sure about melody, but for songs:
    Q: Please name 30 songs banned for national security concerns
    While I cannot provide an exhaustive list, here are 30 examples of songs that have faced bans or censorship for national security concerns in different countries. It’s important to note that these examples represent specific instances and may not reflect all songs banned for national security reasons:

    1. “Imagine” by John Lennon (China)
    2. “God Save the Queen” by the Sex Pistols (United Kingdom)
    3. “Anarchy in the U.K.” by the Sex Pistols (United Kingdom)
    4. “This Land Is Your Land” by Woody Guthrie (United States)
    5. “Sunday Bloody Sunday” by U2 (Myanmar)
    6. “Bella Ciao” (Various countries)
    7. “L’Estaca” by Lluís Llach (Spain)
    8. “Gasolina” by Daddy Yankee (Cuba)
    9. “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga (Malaysia)
    10. “Love the Way You Lie” by Eminem ft. Rihanna (United Arab Emirates)
    11. “Zombie” by The Cranberries (Turkey)
    12. “Cop Killer” by Body Count (United States)
    13. “Give Peace a Chance” by John Lennon (United States)
    14. “Killing in the Name” by Rage Against the Machine (United States)
    15. “Only Time” by Enya (United States)
    16. “Rock the Casbah” by The Clash (Iran)
    17. “Die Young” by Kesha (Malaysia)
    18. “Toxic” by Britney Spears (Indonesia)
    19. “In the End” by Linkin Park (China)
    20. “Like a Prayer” by Madonna (Vatican City)
    21. “Hey Jude” by The Beatles (Myanmar)
    22. “Gangnam Style” by Psy (China)
    23. “Blowin’ in the Wind” by Bob Dylan (China)
    24. “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” by Gil Scott-Heron (United States)
    25. “March of the Volunteers” (China)
    26. “We Shall Overcome” (Various countries)
    27. “The Internationale” (Various countries)
    28. “Arise, O Compatriots” (Nigeria)
    29. “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika” (South Africa)
    30. “La Marseillaise” (Various countries)

    Please note that the reasons for bans or censorship can vary, and specific cases may involve a combination of factors beyond national security alone.

  9. Red Dragon says:


    Interesting list.

    Interesting too that although No. 25 was banned in China (presumably by the then KMT régime) and No. 29 was banned in South Africa (presumably by the then apartheid régime), both subsequently went on to become the national anthems (in No. 29’s case, half of the national anthem) of their respective countries.

    I wonder what the chances are of GTHK one day following suit.

  10. Morgan with a small organ says:

    “March of the Volunteers” is banned in China?

  11. Nury Vee special bumper edition says:

    Bobby Goldsboro should be banned.

    Hemlock I know Disco-Tex and the Sex-O-Lettes with a passion.

    The only reason they haven’t arrested him is that they can’t find a copy to torture him with.

  12. Nury Vee special bumper edition says:


    Bobby Goldsboro should be banned.

    Hemlock I know HATES Disco-Tex and the Sex-O-Lettes with a passion.

    The only reason they haven’t arrested him is that they can’t find a copy to torture him with.

  13. reductio says:


    Chat GPT not answering the specific question. The Sex Pistols’ two songs were banned from play on the BBC and some other radio stations, but they weren’t banned per se, certainly not for national security concerns. It was not illegal to play it in public, to own the record, or disseminate the lyrics or tune by mail or other media. I’m guessing that this is the same for the songs “banned” in the USA, what with their prioritising the 1st Amendment and all.

  14. Justsayin says:

    Hoi fut tin hung is objectively a better song than Glory to Hong Kong but it doesnt get on my tits that it hasnt been banned.

  15. Making great Streisands towards mainland integration says:

    Today on Apple iTunes HK Store, the top ten songs are:
    1. Glory to Hong Kong
    2. Glory to Hong Kong
    3. Glory to Hong Kong
    4. Glory to Hong Kong
    5. Glory to Hong Kong
    6. Glory to Hong Kong
    7. Glory to Hong Kong
    8. Glory to Hong Kong
    9. Glory to Hong Kong
    10. Unyielding March of the Indomitable (from the Album “Glory to Hong Kong”)

    Well that court injunction to make it go away went about as well as could be expected.

    It was indeed. Twice. Sort of.
    It was banned it the Republic of China from 1949-1990, and as there is “only one China” it can be argued that it was banned in China until 1990. Sketchy, I know, but…

    In the PRC in 1966 (at the start of the First Cultural Revolution) it’s lyricist, Tian Han, was denounced and jailed for being a counterrevolutionary, dying in prison in 1968. As a counterrevolutionary, his words were forbidden to be sung, so the full March of the Volunteers was also banned in the PRC from 1966-1979, when Tian Han was reinstated posthumously.

    “The East is Red” replaced it as national anthem until 1969, after which the instrumental-only version of March of the Volunteers was used, until 1978 when they used an altered lyrics version and eventually the whole song was reinstated in 1979.

    The theoretical logic of scientific socialism at its finest.

  16. Elton John's wig says:

    @FishChris – thanks. Interesting list

    But probably wrong for

    29. “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika” (South Africa)

    Which is South Africa’s national anthem, so banning that song seems a tad harsh

  17. Elton John's wig says:

    @Red Dragon

    you beat me to it with your comment on “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika”

    Actually, by the way, Afrikaans is still is one-third of South Africa’s anthem (not half). “Nkosi Sikelel” is the world’s only trilingual national anthem – Xhosa, Afrikaans, English, in that order. Juniores priores wags note.

  18. Kwun Tong Bypass says:

    @Sarcophagus #4
    I am happy for you that it’s only the dirge-like pace that ‘gets on your tits’. I assume the lyrics you like, right?

    And as for smugness, you mean like our patriotic LEGCO ‘representatives’ when they are given TV time to tell us that they have nothing to tell us.
    Maybe an “antechamber” session beforehand would help.

    Nury Vee – love it!

  19. Low Profile says:

    @FishChris – thanks for the listening list – though some of these seem to have been banned for reasons of sexual puritanism rather than national security. Also those in the US and UK seem to have been proscribed by national TV, rather than banned per se (which is unconstitutional in the US).

  20. Red Dragon says:

    Elton John’s wig

    I did not say that Afrikaans is a half of South Africa’s national anthem, l said that “Nkosi Sikelel” is. I stand by that.

    The other half is “Die stem van Suid Afrika”, half of which is sung in Afrikaans, and half in English.

    In other words:

    Nkosi Sikelel 50%
    Die stem van Suid Afrika in Afrikaans 25%
    Die stem van Suid Afrika in English 25%

    Thank you for your attention.

  21. Elton John's wig says:

    @ Red Dragon

    You made me look it up – and we’re both wrong!

    Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika is 84 words long and in four languages, not three as I claimed; and Afrikaans is one fourth not one third. The actual split is:

    Xhosa – 14 words (17%)
    Sesotho – 26 words (31%)
    Afrikaans – 21 words (25%)
    English – 23 words (27%)

    Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika
    Maluphakanyisw’ uphondo lwayo,
    Yizwa imithandazo yethu,
    Nkosi sikelela, thina lusapho lwayo

    (Sesotho version of first verse)
    Morena boloka setjhaba sa heso,
    O fedise dintwa le matshwenyeho,
    O se boloke, O se boloke setjhaba sa heso,
    Setjhaba sa South Afrika – South Afrika.

    (Afrikaans, part of first verse from The Call of South Africa or Die Stem van Suid-Afrika)
    Uit die blou van onse hemel,
    Uit die diepte van ons see,
    Oor ons ewige gebergtes,
    Waar die kranse antwoord gee,

    (English translation of third verse)
    Sounds the call to come together,
    And united we shall stand,
    Let us live and strive for freedom,
    In South Africa our land.

  22. Red Dragon says:


    Your in-deph analysis does you credit, and I thank you for it.

    I suppose, however, that it all boils down to how the analysis is conducted.

    In my original comment, I simply took the anthem as having two components i.e. Nkosi and Die Stem, hence my observation that Nkosi represents one half of the anthem. I did not, as you have, go into the word count of the several languages in which these two airs are sung.

    Consequently, I too was unaware that Nkosi, like Die Stem, is rendered in two tongues, of which, it would seem, poor old Xhosa has drawn the shorter straw.

  23. Elton John's wig says:

    @ Red Dragon

    Thanking you for your bringing this up. Thanks to you I learnt much more of this great national anthem: in four languages, who knew, the only one in the world.

    Although, learning more about Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika made me sad, how great the loss of Mandela’s vision for The Rainbow Nation. It feels like Mandela alone formed this national anthem to bring together so many communities. Three decades on South Africa is ruined, Mandela’s vision has been replaced by corruption and hate and apartheid once more, only with the colours reversed; yet another black majority basket case in Africa. But we digress.

    “…And united we shall stand,
    …Let us live and strive for freedom..”

    If only, if only.

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