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The Hong Kong police arrested a man for booing China's national anthem while viewing the Olympics

When Hong Kong fencer Edgar Cheung won the first gold medal for the city in 25 years, the Chinese national anthem was played, sparking protest from a journalist.

The Hong Kong police arrested a man for booing China's national anthem while viewing the Olympics
Image Source: Fencing - Olympics: Day 4. TOKYO, JAPAN - JULY 27. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Last Monday, a crowd had gathered inside a shopping mall in Hong Kong to watch the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. During a live stream of an award ceremony, wherein Hong Kong fencer Edgar Cheung won the first gold medal for the city in 25 years, China's national anthem was played. A man watching the live stream booed the 'March of the Volunteers,' and was immediately arrested on suspicion of breaking the National Anthem Ordinance. This is a law that came into effect in the occupied territory in June last year. The man, who has since identified himself as a journalist, was accused of "insulting" the national anthem by police officials, CNN reports.



As per the National Anthem Ordinance, the journalist may face up to a maximum penalty of three years' imprisonment. During a press conference held on Friday last week, police claimed the man booed the national anthem and chanted slogans to insult the country. In addition to this, he allegedly raised a British Hong Kong colonial flag. Reportedly, police also found about 10 British Hong Kong flags of varying sizes on his person. Police believed he wished to "incite hatred and politicize the Olympic Games." At present, the Hong Kong police have begun an investigation in order to identify if any other shoppers present at the mall violated the national security law.



Since the handover of Hong Kong to China in 1997—a relic of the latter's continued imperialist forces in the region—athletes from Hong Kong have competed in the Olympics under the name of "Hong Kong, China." Although Hong Kong makes use of its regional flag during the sporting event, the Chinese national anthem is played when the city's athletes win gold medals. This has been viewed as another symbol of China's ongoing colonization of the "Special Administrative Region."



Hong Kong fencer Cheung is the first athlete to win a gold medal for Hong Kong at the Olympics since the handover first took place. Previously, in the year 1996, windsurfer Lee Lai-shan won a gold medal. At the time, the British national anthem 'God Save the Queen' was played. Home to 7.5 million residents of various nationalities and one of the most densely populated regions on the planet, Hong Kong was established as a colony of the British Empire in 1841 (and then again in 1842). The colony was created after the Qing Empire ceded Hong Kong Island from Xin'an County at the end of the First Opium War. The colony was expanded to the Kowloon Peninsula in 1860.



Britain obtained a 99-year lease of the New Territories in 1898 and was thereafter occupied by Imperial Japan from 1941 to 1945. Following Japan's surrender, the British administration resumed until 1997. This is when the whole territory was transferred to China. Presently, Hong Kong maintains separate governing and economic systems from that of mainland China under the principle of "one country, two systems" but growing criticisms of China's over-influence have resulted in ongoing protests across the city. Most notably, China enforced an archaic extradition bill, endangering the rights, liberties, and lives of pro-democracy politicians and protesters.


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