Hong Kong protesters have come up with a new method to voice their dissent against the government.
Thousands of Hongkongers have gathered at shopping malls for the past few nights, singing in unison the unofficial anthem, Glory to Hong Kong.
At 10pm tonight, more than 300 HKers sang "Glory to Hong Kong", widely recognised "unofficial national anthem" of #HongKong, in Kaikoo Place, a prominent shopping mall in a middle-class residential area.— Demosistō 香港眾志 😷 (@demosisto) September 9, 2019
Full song: https://t.co/D0a78Oe1Dd#FreeHK pic.twitter.com/E5DQqBl3AA
‘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
They have also taken to chanting "Liberate Hong Kong! Revolution of our times!" in shopping malls.
Hong Kong protestors are taking over shopping malls. pic.twitter.com/UMLceEMs33— Claude Taylor (@TrueFactsStated) September 11, 2019
Oh nothing unusual, just crowds of HK financial district office workers at lunchtime walking through a high-end mall chanting “Reclaim Hong Kong, Revolution of our time!” pic.twitter.com/EtmNgfpwMT— Antony Dapiran (@antd) September 12, 2019
By gathering in shopping malls and singing together, protesters, remaining defiant, say the police have no reason to disperse them as what they are doing does not constitute a protest per se.
No police were present at the gatherings, and the crowds dispersed peacefully, reported AP.
The scenes strike a contrast with the increasingly violent clashes between frontline protesters and riot police, as well as the violent displays of vandalism unto public property.
Glory to Hong Kong, which has a 19th-century vibe to it, was composed anonymously, and has lyrics that were entirely crowdsourced from protesters on Hong Kong's Reddit-like platform, LIHKG -- much like the leaderless civil disobedience movement that has rocked the city for the past 14 weeks.
Reflecting the protesters' will to not give up and continue their resistance even after the formal withdrawal of the extradition bill that sparked the protests was announced, some even said they were moved to tears as they listened to it.
In an orchestral and choir version of the song, protesters could be seen in the video singing and playing instruments while donning helmets, face masks and goggles -- essential equipment for a frontline protester to fight against tear gas and pepper spray released by the police to disperse them.
While some call it an unofficial "national anthem", others were opposed to the term as it carries potential connotations of separatism.
Nevertheless, protesters identify with the song as they felt it reflects their struggles for the past weeks trying to get the Hong Kong government to agree to their demands.
While the protest first started as opposition to a highly-unpopular bill that allows case-by-case extradition of criminals to mainland China, it later evolved into a broader call for greater police accountability and democratic rights such as electoral reforms.
You can listen to the song in English here.
Pro-Beijing camp responds by singing Chinese national anthem
In response to the protesters singing their unofficial protest song, pro-Beijing supporters gathered at the IFC (International Finance Corporation) Hong Kong building on Thursday, Sep. 12, and sang the Chinese national anthem -- March of the Volunteers -- while displaying the Chinese national flag.
#NOW - Pro-Beijing protesters flies Chinese flags in IFC, Central. This followed an online to sing the national anthem at 1pm, to counter the "Glory to Hong Kong" singings.#antielab pic.twitter.com/I18fXMG2rK— Lok. (@sumlokkei) September 12, 2019
They also repeatedly shouted "China, add oil!"
Shortly afterwards, anti-establishment supporters turned up and belted out Glory to Hong Kong, eventually forcing the pro-Beijing camp to leave the place, Apple Daily reported.
March of the Volunteers is Hong Kong's official national anthem
March of the Volunteers is a song that calls for those who "refuse to be slaves" to rise up.
Its origins lie in the call for the Chinese people to arise and resist the Japanese invaders in the 1930s.
The song is also the national anthem of the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau.
While protesters have sung the Christian song Sing Hallelujah to the Lord, and Do You Hear the People Sing, a song from musical Les Misérables, Glory to Hong Kong is the song that has achieved the most traction among protesters thus far.
Top image via @TrueFactsStated