Dominic Lee Tsz-king (center), and the members of Civil Force, visit the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Hong Kong to protest the playing of a song closely associated with violent protests in the city in 2019 during the Asian Sevens final on Nov 14, 2022. (CALVIN NG / CHINA DAILY)
HONG KONG – The Hong Kong SAR government on Monday sharply criticized the broadcast of a song closely associated with the city’s 2019 social unrest before a Hong Kong match at the Asia Rugby Sevens Series.
The incident occurred before the men’s final between Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and South Korea in the second leg of the Asia Rugby Sevens Series, held on Sunday in Incheon, South Korea. The song that should have played was Yiyongjun Jinxingqu (March of the Volunteers), the Chinese national anthem.
According to Asia Rugby, the recording of the national anthem submitted by the coach of the Hong Kong Team was the correct one, and explained that the mistake was caused by “human error” of a junior staff member of the local organizer
According to Asia Rugby, the recording of the national anthem submitted by the coach of the Hong Kong Team was the correct one, and explained that the mistake was caused by “human error” of a junior staff member of the local organizer.
“The national anthem is a symbol of our country. The organizer of the tournament has a duty to ensure that the national anthem receives the respect it deserves,” a government spokesman said.
“We have already written to the Hong Kong Rugby Union last evening demanding them to deal with this matter seriously, launch a full and in-depth investigation, and submit a detailed report, and convey our strong objection to Asia Rugby, which is the organizer of the Series,” he added.
ALSO READ: ICAC charges 4 persons over boycott call during LegCo polls
Based on the preliminary information provided by the Hong Kong Rugby Union to the Culture, Sports and Tourism Bureau, Asia Rugby has already apologized to the Hong Kong Rugby Union for the incident.
The Hong Kong Rugby Union, in a statement on Monday, also expressed strong disapproval of the incident.
After receiving Asia Rugby’s explanation, the union said that such a mistake is unacceptable. Asia Rugby has promised that it will not happen again in their follow-up apologies, the union said.
The Hong Kong team brought the mistake to the organizer’s attention as soon as the stadium played the wrong song. The organizer made a public announcement, apologizing for the error immediately after the game, and played the national anthem of the People’s Republic of China during the prize presentation ceremony when the Hong Kong team won the final.
READ MORE: HK to promote national, global healthcare expansion
The Hong Kong rugby team will participate in the third leg of the Asia Rugby Sevens Series, which will be in Dubai at the end of the month. The HKSAR government has already requested the Hong Kong Rugby Union ensure that a similar incident will not happen again.