GP Insights # 144, 14 September 2019
This week, there has been a new anthem by the protesters in Hong Kong. The protests are continuing despite Carrie Lam’s announcement last week saying, the extradition bill would be withdrawn.
The new anthem titled “Glory to Hong Kong” is being sung in unison in malls, universities and even at a soccer match in Hong Kong.
The Anthem roughly translates to the following: “For all the tears on our land, do you feel the rage in our cities...
Revolution of our time!... For righteousness! Democracy and Liberty, wish them long last here, for the Glory of Hong Kong.”
What is the background?
The protests in Hong Kong have reached the third month now and have evolved into multiple forms in the past weeks. “Reclaim Hong Kong, Revolution of our times,” has become the slogan of the protests. What started as an anti-extradition bill protest has transformed into a who-provokes-whom first, movement. China has consciously taken a decision not to involve with the protests directly.
Mid-August, a Youtube video started gaining traction. Multiple versions – for example in English and Italian, immediately surfaced in the internet. On 11 September, a new video was uploaded to YouTube, showing the song being performed by an orchestra. The musicians were dressed in protest gear, including gas masks, hard hats, black T-shirts, in a dim dark room as if surrounded by tear gas.
Earlier this year, a legislation in mainland China made it an offence to insult the national anthem. The ongoing protests have made it impossible to pass that legislation either.
What does it mean?
The protests are evolving.
At the same time, not everyone is in unison. One columnist spoke about how residents in Hong Kong city are casually walking through the protests, passing by the barricaded subways and closed roads to address their everyday lives. Helpers are seen sitting on the streets and playing board games because of the shutdown of offices.
Third is the financial sustenance. The Youtube video itself for example, is not free to make and promote. The one released on 11 September seemed professionally made; which meant that there is an agency and promotional costs involved.
One cannot entirely rule out the fact that these songs, campaigns and messages might be an attempt at directly provoking Beijing. Would China retain its patience till the end? Or will the five demands be met?