A week after topping Apple’s iTunes chart, popular versions of a Hong Kong protest anthem are unsearchable on the platform, as the government tries to outlaw the song in the city’s courts.
An album featuring Glory to Hong Kong tracks dominated the local iTunes charts earlier this month, surging in popularity after the justice department announced plans to seek an injunction to ban the song.
By Wednesday, the tracks posted by “ThomasDGX & HongKongers,” believed to be the song’s composer, were no longer accessible on iTunes, although a version of Glory to Hong Kong by Taiwanese band The Chairman was still accessible. The South China Morning Post first reported the track’s absence from Apple’s platform.
The track’s disappearance comes as the government issued a statement on Wednesday asking anyone who disagreed with their proposed ban to come forward.
A representative for Apple and the creator of a YouTube page and independent website for “ThomasDGX & HongKongers” didn’t respond to a request for comment.
A Hong Kong judge on Monday adjourned a hearing on the justice department’s application for an interim injunction to make it illegal for anyone with criminal intent to perform or broadcast Glory to Hong Kong, including the lyrics and melody. Its order cited 32 videos of the song on YouTube.
That injunction is being watched as a test case for how internet companies will operate in Hong Kong, as city authorities crack down on dissent using a Beijing-drafted national security law passed in June 2020.
Glory to Hong Kong became a flashpoint for the city’s government last year after it was played by mistake at a number of international sporting events. The song has appeared at the top of Google searches for Hong Kong’s national anthem, instead of China’s March of the Volunteers — something Google parent Alphabet Inc. has refused to change.
Versions of the song by “ThomasDGX & HongKongers” were still accessible on Wednesday on some other streaming platforms, including Amazon.com Inc., iHeart and SoundCloud.
Representatives for Amazon and SoundCloud didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. IHeart didn’t have an immediate comment, while Google declined to comment.
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