Asian Powerlifting Federation (APF) has apologised for wrongly playing a 2019 protest-related song as China's national anthem at a medal presentation ceremony of Asian Classic Powerlifting Championship 2022.
This comes as "Glory to Hong Kong", a song associated with protests in 2019 was played as the national anthem of China during a medal presentation ceremony of Asian Classic Powerlifting Championship 2022 held in Dubai on 2 December.
Footages online showed that after the song was played for 15 seconds, Susanna Lin, the gold winner for 47-kilogram class competition session, was seen making a “T” sign with her hands, and the correct Chinese national anthem “March of the Volunteers” was played soon after.
Soon after the incident, the Hong Kong government released a statement on 3 December stating that it will launch an investigation over the case soon. "According to the initial report of the Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China (SF&OC), the Hong Kong athlete and team manager had followed the guidelines issued by the SF&OC and responded immediately at the medal presentation ceremony, as a result the organiser suspended the ceremony and made correction. The Hong Kong government recognises the action taken by the Hong Kong representatives on the spot which upheld national dignity," the statement read.
The SF&OC has already indicated that an in-depth investigation will be conducted. The government attaches great importance to the incident and has requested the SF&OC to submit a report as soon as possible, and follow up on the incident in a serious manner.
On 4 December 2022, Farshid Soltani, president of APF, issued a formal letter apologising for the blunder. The letter also explained the incident was due to "the technical team, which is made up of volunteers from various countries, have no idea of what China's national anthem should be."
"The technical team downloaded all national anthems from the Internet to prepare for countries who did not bring their national anthems [...] however, the incorrect file was not deleted and was played during the award ceremony," the letter read.
Soltani also said the organisor had examined the files of the national anthems after the incident and will ensure that will not happen again.
This isn't the first anthem blunder that happened at international sports matches. Last month, the Hong Kong government has called for investigations into the playing of a song related to the 2019 protests during a match between Hong Kong and South Korea at the Asian Rugby Seven Series.
Soon after, The Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China (SF&OC) has suggested Hong Kong athletes and teams to display the sign of "T" with their hands to express objection against wrongly played anthem and incorrectly raised regional flag at international sports event.