A large group of football fans jeered the Chinese national anthem in a World Cup qualifier between Iran and Hong Kong at Hong Kong Stadium on last Tuesday night, risking punishment from the Fédération Internationale de Football Association.
In the past, FIFA had fined Hong Kong for similar incidents.
A large crowd of fans wore red jerseys to support the Hong Kong team, yet there were also many fans dressed in black which is the signature colour of the pro-democracy movement.
The activists started jeering before the Chinese national anthem was played, and continued to jeer loudly throughout.
Some of them made rude gestures, while others turned their backs to the pitch.
The demonstration had started before the match began. The protesters gathered at the nearby Causeway Bay train station before entering the stadium together, shouting different slogans that have become mainstays of the movement, such as “stand with Hong Kong, fight for freedom”, and “five demands, not one less”.
At half-time, they sang a new song, “Glory to Hong Kong”. This song was written by an unnamed protester and intended to be an anthem of the ongoing movement.
Howard Chui*, one of the fans who was distributing flyers containing the lyrics of the song outside the stadium, told D*scribe that police were monitoring his every move.
“There were many police outside the arena. I needed to wear a mask to protect myself. I think it is very ridiculous,” he said.
Hong Kong lost the match 2-0 to Iran.
*Name has been changed to protect identity.