The distributor of a popular Hong Kong protest song will remove it from all platforms, creator says


HONG KONG (AP) — The distributor of a popular protest song in Hong Kong has decided to remove the music from all platforms because of a court ban in the city, the group that created the song said Friday, a week after YouTube blocked access to its videos.

Dgxmusic said on Instagram that it expressed its opposition to the decision by EmuBands, the distributor, to remove “Glory to Hong Kong,” which was widely sung by demonstrators during huge anti-government protests in 2019.

The group said the song has already been removed from iTunes and Apple Music in various regions. Most versions of the song were also unavailable on Spotify in Hong Kong on Friday.

This month, an appeals court granted the government’s request to prohibit the broadcast or distribution of the song to advocate for the separation of Hong Kong from China.

“The song itself is not banned by the injunction. We hope to have the song reinstated as soon as possible,” Dgxmusic said.

EmuBands, based in Glasgow in Britain, did not immediately comment.

The ban sought by the Hong Kong government has raised concerns over a further decline in the city’s freedom of expression and internet freedom. Critics have also warned it might disrupt the operation of tech giants and undermine the city’s appeal as a global financial hub.

Last week, YouTube blocked access to 32 videos of the song that were deemed to be “prohibited publications” under the injunction for viewers in the city. The tech company said it was disappointed by the court’s decision and would continue to consider its options.

On Tuesday, Hong Kong leader John Lee said the government would keep monitoring internet platforms for any non-compliance with the court order.

“Glory to Hong Kong” is widely seen as the anthem of the 2019 protest movement, which was followed by a government crackdown that has all but erased dissenting voices in the city.

Instances in which the song was mistakenly played as the city’s official anthem at international sporting events, instead of China’s national anthem, “March of the Volunteers,” also have angered city officials.

The government went to court last year after Google resisted pressure to display China’s national anthem as the top result in searches for the city’s anthem instead of the protest song.

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