The High Court of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region adjourned on Monday a hearing seeking an injunction against the separatism-linked song "Glory to Hong Kong" to July 21.
The Hong Kong SAR government sought a court injunction and an interim injunction order on June 5 to prohibit four types of unlawful acts related to the song, which was widely circulated during the 2019 social turmoil.
The unlawful acts involve disseminating, performing or reproducing it in any way on any platform with intent to incite others to commit secession or with seditious intent, or intent to insult the national anthem.
The application also covers any adaptation of the song, the melody or lyrics that are substantially the same as the song. It also aims to prohibit acts concerning those knowingly assisting, inciting or authorizing others to commit such acts.
The SAR government's move came after a slew of national anthem-related blunders, in which the separatism-linked song was mistakenly presented as Hong Kong's "national anthem "at international sports competitions involving Hong Kong teams.
The latest such mishap occurred at the World Ice Hockey Championship held in Bosnia in February, when the song was wrongfully played as the national anthem March of the Volunteers after a victory by the Hong Kong men's team. The team quickly requested a timeout and the mistake was corrected later.
Earlier, similar mistakes also happened at rugby matches and powerlifting games held overseas. Following that, the city's top sports committee, the Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China, issued a guideline in November to all its sports groups to help them prevent and deal with such mishaps.
"It's highly likely the song will continue to be widely disseminated, contrary to the Law of the People's Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (National Security Law) and the Crimes Ordinance," the SAR government said in a statement on June 6.
The government also submitted to the High Court a list of 32 YouTube links involving the song in different languages, that it seeks to ban.
A government spokesman stressed that "the injunction complements existing laws and serves to clarify to members of the public that the acts mentioned above may constitute criminal offenses, and they should not take chances and attempt to break the law".
The SAR government respects and values the rights and freedoms protected by the Basic Law, but freedom of speech is not absolute, the spokesman added.
In order to safeguard national security, the application is necessary, reasonable and legal, meeting the requirements of the relevant human rights legislation and being complementary to the existing law, the spokesman said.