YouTube Quickly Blocks Access to Protest Anthem ‘Glory to Hong Kong’ After Chinese Court Order

Glory to Hong Kong protest anthem blocked
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Glory to Hong Kong protest anthem blocked
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Photo Credit: Simon Zhu

YouTube has blocked access to a popular Hong Kong protest anthem after a court order granted a government request to ban the song, “Glory to Hong Kong.”

YouTube confirmed that 32 web links to the song have been geo-blocked and are now unavailable in Hong Kong following the court order. Any attempts to access the video result in the message, “This content is not available on this country domain due to a court order.”

“We are disappointed by the court’s decision but are complying with its removal order by blocking access to the listed videos for viewers in Hong Kong,” a YouTube spokesperson confirms. “We’ll continue to consider our options for an appeal, to promote access to information.”

The “Glory to Hong Kong” anthem was written by a Hong Kong musician in August 2019—becoming a rallying cry for pro-democracy protests in the city. The song contains the phrase “liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times” which is a banned phrase since 2020. A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said stopping the dissemination of the song is necessary for Hong Kong “to fulfill its responsibilities of safeguarding national security and the dignity of the national anthem.”

Part of the upset is that “Glory to Hong Kong” has been chosen as the anthem to play for Hong Kong sports teams at international events over the “March of the Volunteers” Chinese national anthem. Hong Kong’s Department of Justice filed a court injunction to seek a ban on broadcasting or distributing the song in June 2023. The injunction was initially rejected, but that was overturned in an appeal in May 2024.

Meanwhile, the Asia Internet Coalition says it is “assessing the implications of the decision.” Spotify, Apple, Amazon, Meta, and Snap. Inc. are members of the coalition—so the ban could also impact these social media services. “We believe that a free and open internet is fundamental to the city’s ambitions to become an international technology and innovation hub,” says Jeff Paine, Managing Director for the Asia Internat Coalition.