Google isn’t caving to pressure from China’s ruling Communist Party to replace searches of Hong Kong’s national anthem with the Chinese national anthem, as the phrase “Hong Kong national anthem” often turns up a pro-democracy protest song that has since been outlawed.
The issue was first raised after the protest anthem “Glory to Hong Kong” was played during the men’s final of a sevens rugby tournament in South Korea in November, according to Reuters.
The issue flared up again earlier this month at the Asian Classic Powerlifting Championship in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, after Hong Kong’s gold medalist Susanna Lin called for a “timeout” when the protest anthem was played during her ceremony, as reported by the Hong Kong Free Press.
Organizers for both the South Korean rugby tournament and the weightlifting competition in Dubai said the mix-up was due to human error.
Chris Tang, Hong Kong’s security secretary, asked Google to manipulate search results and have China’s anthem of “March of the Volunteers” replace “Glory to Hong Kong” as the top search result, but to no avail.
“We have approached Google to request that they put the correct national anthem at the top of their search results, but unfortunately Google refused,” Mr. Tang told reporters Monday, per Reuters. “We felt great regret and this has hurt the feelings of Hong Kong people.”
The security secretary later added that “The Hong Kong government will definitely use all means to correct this situation,” according to Bloomberg News.
“Glory to Hong Kong” was written in 2019, around the time protests broke out in Hong Kong during China’s takeover of the former British colony.
It was considered the city’s de facto national anthem, but the ruling Chinese Communist Party banned the song in 2020 for promoting crimes such as secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. Playing the song could land someone a lifetime prison sentence.