For two consecutive nights, thousands of Hong Kong citizens have packed shopping malls and sang the popular protest song Glory to Hong Kong.
But the tune has not been a hit with the pro-establishment media, which called it a song calling for Hong Kong’s independence.
Wen Wei Po, a Beijing-back Chinese-language newspaper in Hong Kong, published a front-page story alleging the song spread an ideology of separatism.
The newspaper cited the human chains formed by secondary school students during the week and the World Cup qualifying match in Hong Kong Stadium as examples, saying young people were being brainwashed with an ideology to call for the independence of the city.
The report also slammed “Hong Kong Way,” the human chain formed by Hong Kong protesters in August. That idea was inspired by the Baltic Way, when two million people joined hands to form a human chain spanning several hundred kilometers across the states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, in a peaceful political stunt against Soviet rule in 1989.
Johnny Lau Yiu-siu, a political commentator on China affairs, said he believed the song had not yet been classed as a promotion of independence, even though some regarded it as the “Hong Kong anthem.”
He said the Beijing government was still observing the political situation in the city and the level of participation by the general public, Apple Daily reported.
Lau praised Glory to Hong Kong as a song which told how Hong Kong people feel and said it gave them hope in the current political atmosphere with its melody and lyrics.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong people continued to show their determination and used Glory to Hong Kong to express their frustrations and solidarity over the months-long anti-extradition bill saga, which started in June.
On Wednesday night, people flooded into malls such as the New Town Plaza in Sha Tin, Olympian City in West Kowloon, Plaza Hollywood in Diamond Hill, Tsuen Wan Plaza and Domain Mall in Yau Tong and sang the song with gusto for at least an hour. Some bought flutes and tubas to play along with the song.
The singing was immediately followed by applause, cheers and then the chanting of slogans. The mass sing-alongs were largely peaceful.
However, scuffles happened at Amoy Plaza in Kowloon Bay when one man took a video of people singing and he then sang China’s anthem in an apparent protest.
On Thursday afternoon, hundreds of China supporters responded to a call on social media and arrived at the upscale IFC mall in Central with Chinese national flags and sang the national anthem together. They chanted the slogan “China, add oil.”
The event mimicked the song singing and slogans chanted by anti-extradition bill protesters in the past few nights. However, the scene turned chaotic when people from the pro-democracy side rushed to the mall and outnumbered those singing patriotic songs.
Shops in the mall were shuttered as disputes broke out between the two groups. Some people carrying China’s national flags abused the anti-extradition bill protesters, calling them “cockroaches” and “rubbish.” Some Hong Kong people held placards with “vindication June 4” in front of the patriotic side before they left.
Andrew Fung, the information coordinator of former Chief Executive CY Leung, was seen arguing with people at the scene.