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Hong Kong to appeal against court decision not to ban protest song

The Hong Kong government said on Monday it will appeal against a senior court's decision not to impose an unprecedented ban on a defiant pro-democracy anthem that emerged from the city's huge protests in 2019.

High Court judge Anthony Chan rejected the government’s application last month for an injunction to ban “Glory to Hong Kong”, a song written anonymously at the height of the protests.

Beijing imposed a sweeping national security law in mid-2020 to quell massive protests in Hong Kong, effectively neutering opposition voices and political parties as well as squashing the city’s once-vibrant civil society groups.

Chan doubted the utility of the ban and said in his July judgment it could cause “chilling effects” to innocent third parties, even if that was not the government’s intention.

The government had asked for the injunction in June so that the song could not be disseminated or performed “with the intention of inciting others to commit secession or with a seditious intent”.

A spokesman for the Department of Justice said on Monday the secretary for justice “considered it necessary to appeal” against Chan’s decision.

Pro-establishment politicians had already criticised the High Court’s decision.

Lawmaker Priscilla Leung told a radio programme on Monday she was unhappy about Chan’s judgment because it would “make the general public believe that the song is lawful”.

She suggested the government step up enforcement and amend legislation so that the injunction could be granted.

The government was angered in recent months after “Glory to Hong Kong” was played in error as the city’s anthem at several international sporting events.

Hong Kong does not have an official anthem and follows China’s “March of the Volunteers”.

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