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Friday, Jun 02, 2023

Deplorable anthem blunder

Deplorable anthem blunder

The playing of the national anthem went wrong again in the fourth such incident in as many months when a song linked to the 2019 protest movement was played at ice hockey world championships in Sarajevo.
Hong Kong team members made a “time-out” gesture 10 seconds into the song Glory to Hong Kong when it should have been March of the Volunteers sounding on Tuesday night in the Bosnian city.

The blunder followed similar incidents since November – once in South Korea and twice in Dubai.

“The government strongly deplores the mistake made when incorrect music was played … after the Hong Kong versus Iran match in the Ice Hockey World Championship in Bosnia,” a spokesman said.

The protest song followed the Hong Kong team defeating Iran 11-1 in a Group B game of the International Ice Hockey Federation’s Ice Hockey World Championship Division III.

Several Hong Kong players held up their hands in a “T” gesture after 10 seconds to signal a problem. Then organizers apologized and played the correct anthem.

The players’ action was in accordance with guidelines issued by the Hong Kong Sports Federation and Olympic

Committee last November on how athletes should react if there are problems with the national anthem and the regional flag – including leaving the venue if a problem is not put right immediately.

The spokesman said the SAR administration “recognizes the action taken by the Hong Kong athletes on the spot, which upheld national dignity.”

Officials also requested the committee to conduct an in-depth investigation and report on whether the relevant national sports association checked with the event organizer to ensure the correct anthem was to be played. The SF&OC has, in turn, requested a report from the Hong Kong Ice Hockey Association.

But the committee stated yesterday that the association had provided the tournament organizer with a copy of the correct anthem. And that “the athletes and team manager involved responded immediately” showed guidelines were effective.

Pui Kwan-kay, honorary vice president of the SF&OC, said the Security Bureau needs to talk with internet service providers to pin the Chinese national anthem as the top search result for Hong Kong’s anthem.

A spokesman for the Innovation, Technology and Industry Bureau told The Standard it has met with senior managers at Google’s Asia Pacific office, and both sides agreed to maintain communication to ensure the search engine conveyed accurate information about the anthem.

Legislator Kenneth Fok Kai-kong of the sports, performing arts, culture, and publication constituency said he understood the local ice hockey association had earlier supplied the organizer with a copy of the correct anthem. Fok said the reactions of players and officials were “timely and appropriate.”

The protest song was first mistakenly played at the Asian Sevens Series in South Korea last November after an intern mistakenly downloaded a copy of Glory to Hong Kong from the internet.

In the same month, a graphics caption reading “Glory to Hong Kong, National Anthem of Hong Kong” was displayed as the Chinese national anthem played at a Rugby World Cup 2023 qualification match in Dubai.

And in December the protest song was played at the Asian Classic Powerlifting Championships, also in Dubai.

The Asian Powerlifting Federation said the song, downloaded from the internet as a contingency, was mistaken for the correct file provided to organizers.

The controversies sparked a push by the Hong Kong administration to improve searches on government websites.
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