A Hong Kong court granted the government permission on Wednesday to lodge another attempt to ban an anthem that emerged from 2019 pro-democracy protests, after rejecting the bid last month.

September 12 Victoria Park glory to Hong Kong
“Glory to Hong Kong” performed in 2019. File Photo: Chau Ho Man/United Social Press.

Officials in June requested an injunction to ban the song “Glory to Hong Kong”, penned anonymously at the height of the protests, to stop it from being performed or disseminated with criminal intent.

But in a surprise ruling late July, the High Court refused the application, saying that an injunction would not be useful and would cause “chilling effects” on free expression.

The government appealed the decision, and on Wednesday judge Anthony Chan — who had presided over the denial last month — gave it the green light to be heard.

“Due to the importance of national security, the law on which is – of course – a new frontier, I am inclined to grant leave” to appeal the decision, wrote Chan.

Chan had previously said in his denial that the acts the government was trying to stop were already covered by existing laws — including a national security law imposed by Beijing in 2020 in the protests’ aftermath — and that an injunction had “no real utility”.

Glory to Hong Kong
Glory to Hong Kong. Photo: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

Over the past year, Hong Kong’s government has reacted angrily to the song being played in error as the city’s anthem at several international sporting events.

Hong Kong does not have its own official anthem, and uses China’s “March of the Volunteers”.

Hong Kong’s technology minister previously said the injunction was partly meant to convince tech giant Google to delist “Glory to Hong Kong” from internet search results.

Observers have questioned whether the ban, if granted, could affect the operation of major online content platforms such as Google, Spotify and YouTube in Hong Kong.

Last month, the American Chamber of Commerce welcomed the court’s decision and said it showed “judicial independence in place to underpin the global competitiveness of Hong Kong”.

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