Anthem jeers humiliate civilized society in Hong Kong

Source:Global Times Published: 2017/10/11 22:33:39

A group of Hong Kong soccer fans again jeered the Chinese national anthem on Tuesday at Hong Kong Stadium for the Asian Cup qualifying match against Malaysia. Some young fans turned their backs, booed and even raised middle fingers when the anthem was played. Some held banners calling for Hong Kong independence in defiance of security guards' attempts at persuasion.

This received heavy criticism from Hong Kong's mainstream society. The law that criminalizes disrespect for the national anthem came into effect on October 1 on the Chinese mainland. Many people, including Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, have suggested a local law be enacted to apply the national law in the city.

Jeering the national anthem has occurred at soccer matches time and again in Hong Kong in recent years, mostly by youngsters. Such booing by about 100 people in a stadium of tens of thousands of people can produce huge adverse effects and hence disrupt Hong Kong's political climate.

Booing the national anthem, a sign of not identifying with the nation, is obviously provocative. Since the behavior is easy to do, hard to stop on the spot or hold accountable afterward in Hong Kong, some people seeking to vent their discontent with the authorities capitalize on this method to cause trouble.

This situation must be dealt with. The central government and Hong Kong authorities should show their unequivocal opposition as should mainstream society of the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong. Hong Kong should catch up with the mainland by enacting laws to lend legal support to punishing those who jeer.

In the short term, it's hard to thoroughly eradicate booing and other unpatriotic behavior from Hong Kong. Mainland authorities had best go easy. Hong Kong's institutions determine that radical sentiments will always find an outlet. Fighting radical sentiment is a dynamic process.

The costs of overcoming these humiliating actions are much higher than participating in them, and the difficulties of managing a stadium are completely different from those of managing a country.

Booing does indeed reflect a certain sentiment within Hong Kong society, but such frequent odious behavior does not in the least represent the mainstream view. The negative forces behind the jeering can be neither neglected nor overestimated.

China is the world's first major power to adopt the "one country, two systems" policy and has risen to become the world's second-largest economy. Its ideology is not accepted by the West, and hence the twists and turns that Hong Kong has experienced after its reunification are natural.

Young people booing the national anthem will not be remembered by history, as it is neither a signal of Hong Kong losing control nor a sign of central government decline. A certain amount of chaos in Hong Kong is unsurprising when there are hooligans playing about with the "one country, two systems" policy.

Hong Kong is under the rule of law and law is the best weapon against nasty behavior. We believe people who jeer the national anthem will sooner or later be punished by law as they have humiliated both the Asian Football Confederation and civilized society.

Posted in: OBSERVER

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