It’s no secret that many Hongkongers, especially young people, are no fans of the Chinese national anthem. The proposal of the Hong Kong government last year to impose a penalty on anyone who “sings the national anthem in a distorted or derogatory manner, or insults the national anthem in any other manner,” was met with a great deal of grumbling. And on Tuesday, thousands of protesters booed the anthem as it played at a 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Iran.
So Hong Kong protesters wrote their own anthem. Called “Glory to Hong Kong” (願榮光歸香港 yuàn róngguāng guī xiānggǎng), the piece “did not exist a few weeks ago” and “was crowdsourced/workshopped online,” according to Antony Dapiran. The earliest version of it, by local musician “Thomas dgx yhl,” was released August 31, followed by an English version on September 7:
The song was re-released on September 11 with a slickly produced and striking music video of an orchestra of protesters in full gear, cut with footage of demonstrations in the streets:
Here is one English translation of the lyrics —
For all of our tears on our land,
Do you feel the rage in our cries?
Rise up and speak up! Our voice echoes.
Freedom shall shine upon us.
For all of our fear that lingers,
With faith, we shall never surrender.
With blood, tears, and sweat, we shall stride ahead
For this glorious liberal land.
When the stars no longer guide our path
In the fog, the horn of conscience summons us:
“Persevere! For we are as one, with poise, and be brave,
Courage, wisdom are long with us.”
The dawn has come. Let us revive our Hong Kong.
Revolution of our time! For righteousness!
Democracy and liberty, wish them long last here,
For the glory of Hong Kong
— though we just may prefer this version, found on the YouTube page of the September 7 video embedded above:
May Glory Be to Hong Kong
For the tears that we shed on this soil
For the anguish we had in this turmoil
We keep our heads up, our voices strong
May freedom root in Hong Kong
For the fear that looms overhead
For the hope that moves us ahead
We march in blood, our martyrs along
May freedom glow in Hong Kong
Deepest night we shall not be in fright
In the mist, a new day breaks with chants and light
Stand with us, with virtuous minds and unbending spines
The pearl we hold will always shine
Come children of our motherland
The time has come to wage a revolution
Freedom and liberty belong to this land
May glory be to Hong Kong
Yesterday, September 11, singing this anthem in shopping malls became the primary mode of protest. Partially, this was because some groups of protesters called for a temporary cessation of street protests out of respect for the 9/11 anniversary in the U.S., the Hong Kong Free Press says. The South China Morning Post has a report on these shopping mall singing protests.
‘Glory to Hong Kong’ at Shatin New Town Plaza this evening 9/11. As this new #HK anthem courses through the city, one person said to me, ‘It feels like a new nation is being born.’ pic.twitter.com/F9jLD1ueTj
— Kong Tsung-gan / 江松澗 (@KongTsungGan) September 11, 2019
And here’s an acoustic rendition, for good measure:
— Mary Hui (@maryhui) September 12, 2019