Hong Kong protests: Online song becomes rallying cry

Protesters singing Glory To Hong Kong at a mall in the city on Wednesday. The anonymously penned tune, which first appeared on YouTube on Aug 31, has won a huge following among protesters.
Protesters singing Glory To Hong Kong at a mall in the city on Wednesday. The anonymously penned tune, which first appeared on YouTube on Aug 31, has won a huge following among protesters.PHOTO: ASSOCIATED PRESS

HONG KONG • A defiant protest anthem by an anonymous composer has become the unofficial new soundtrack to Hong Kong's pro-democracy protests, belted out by crowds at flash mobs in malls, on the streets and in football stands.

Glory To Hong Kong first appeared on YouTube on Aug 31 and has quickly won a huge following among those pushing for greater democratic freedoms in the city.

In less than a fortnight, the original version has racked up more than 1.3 million views, while multiple copycat videos have been made - including one featuring an entire orchestra decked out in the helmets, goggles and gas masks worn by protesters.

Each night this week, protesters have gathered at different malls across the city for impromptu flash mob concerts.

Yesterday, at lunchtime, there were some scuffles between pro-Beijing and anti-Hong Kong government supporters at IFC mall, a prominent skyscraper on the newly reclaimed Central waterfront.

Pro-Beijing supporters arrived with national flags and started belting out China's national anthem, March Of The Volunteers, while anti-government protesters sang Glory To Hong Kong, some of them reading from scraps of paper with the lyrics on them.

"For all our tears on our land/Do you feel the rage in our cries," the song begins. "Rise up and speak up, our voice echoes/Freedom shall shine upon us."

Little is known about the composer, who gave himself the online pseudonym "Thomas dgx yhl".

Last night, protesters also gathered at IFC and various other malls in areas such as Sham Shui Po, Causeway Bay and Yuen Long to sing the song, and to demand that all five of their key demands, including an independent inquiry into alleged police misconduct, be met. Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam has already withdrawn the controversial extradition Bill.

 

Mr Christopher Chung, 22, said he planned to sing the new protest song instead of China's national anthem. "I think the respect people pay when singing a national anthem should come from one's heart, instead of using law and rules to force people to respect it," he added.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 13, 2019, with the headline 'Online protest song becomes rallying cry'. Print Edition | Subscribe