'We are Hong Kong': Police Open Probe Into Fans Booing China's Anthem at Tokyo Olympics
© REUTERS / ISSEI KATOThe Rainbow Bridge and Tokyo Tower are illuminated with Olympic colours to mark 100 days countdown to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics that have been postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Tokyo, Japan April 14, 2021.
© REUTERS / ISSEI KATO
The incident occurred on Monday, when hundreds of people gathered in a shopping mall to cheer on a Hong Kong fencer defeating an Italian rival to win gold in the men's individual foil at the Tokyo Olympic Games.
Police in Hong Kong have launched an investigation into a recent incident, during which a crowd watching the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics booed China's national anthem.
The AFP news agency cited an unnamed senior police source as saying on Friday that the probe would also cover "any insulting acts" towards the country's anthem.
The inquiry is looking into the incident that took place on Monday night, when hundreds of Hongkongers gathered in the APM shopping mall in Hong Kong's Kwun Tong district to watch a broadcast of their compatriot Cheung Ka Long claiming the Olympic men's individual fencing title.
Police referred to complaints that some fans started booing and jeering during the award ceremony when China's national anthem was played, also chanting "We are Hong Kong", in scenes that were broadcast live and shared on social networks.
Under a Hong Kong law passed in June 2020, anyone found guilty of misusing or insulting the national anthem can be jailed for three years and fined up to HK$50,000 ($6,450).
Media reports also said the British colonial flag was flown during the medal ceremony as some chanted protest slogans, in an apparent violation of the national security law which bans actions that incite Hong Kong's "secession" drive and could lead to life in prison.
Monday's incident came as the first person charged under the national security law was found guilty. Tong Ying-kit, 24, was convicted of inciting secession and terrorism after riding a motorbike into police and flying a flag calling for Hong Kong's "liberation".
Hong Kong's Status
Hong Kong, a former British colony, was handed back to China in 1997, and has been governed under the principle "one country, two systems" since then.
As for the the national security law, it was enacted in Hong Kong in late June 2020.
The document adjusts security policies in Hong Kong to Beijing's perception of crime and punishment with regard to separatism, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with foreign countries.
Beijing and the Hong Kong government argue that the new law only serves to safeguard China's national security, while respecting people's liberties as well as the city's special status. But a large number of countries in the West view the new law as legislation undermining Hong Kong's autonomy, which Beijing pledged to uphold under a joint declaration with the UK in 1984.