Hong Kong's security chief Chris Tang said that Google refused a request to change search results to display China's national anthem instead of the protest song “Glory to Hong Kong.”
The protest song came to prominence during the 2019 protests in the city over Beijing increasing control over the city. Many protesters considered the song the national anthem of the former British colony.
The song was banned after Beijing enforced a draconian national security law to punish residents for what the government would deem collusion with foreign forces, subversion, secessions, and terrorism. The law carries a punishment of up to life in prison.
In a recent Rugby 7s' tournament in South Korea, “Glory to Hong Kong” was played instead of the Chinese national anthem.
Police said they would investigate the incident. The Asia Rugby Association blamed the incident on a “simple human error,” saying a member of the staff downloaded it from the internet, as it was the first search result for Hong Kong's national anthem.
Tang said that Google refused the request to replace the top search result because results are generated by an algorithm; there is no human input.
“We've approached Google to request that they put the correct national anthem at the top of their search results, but unfortunately Google refused,” Tang said.
“We felt great regret and this has hurt the feelings of Hong Kong people.”