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.
This comes after a number of national anthem blunders occurred at recent rugby matches. On 13 November, "Glory to Hong Kong", a song associated with protests in 2019 was mistakenly played as the national anthem of China at the men’s final between Hong Kong and South Korea of the second leg of the Asian Rugby Seven Series held in South Korea.
Soon after the incident, the Hong Kong government has called for investigations into the incident, and strongly deplored and opposed the playing of a song closely associated with violent protests and the “independence” movement in 2019 as the national anthem of China at the tournament.
Most recently, World Rugby has apologised to the Hong Kong Rugby Union (HKRU) for mislabelling the Chinese national anthem twice as a song related to the protests in the city back in 2019.
The SF&OC then released guidelines on handling the playing of national anthem and raising of the regional flag for local athletes and teams at international sports events, to ensure proper respect is afforded to the anthem and regional flag.
According to the official statement released on 22 November, the SF&OC said it put forward practical suggestions to the Hong Kong government during a meeting on avoiding similar incidents from happening again. SF&OC immediately formulated the guidelines after the meeting to provide clear instructions for all athletes, teams, National Sports Associations (NSAs)' management and personnel.
The guidelines state that all NSAs under SF&OC should familiarise themselves with the guidelines concerning the use of the anthem and regional Flag and ensure that the use of both is in full compliance with these guidelines.
In case an error is found in the playing of the national anthem or raising of the regional flag during their participation in international sports events, athletes and teams should use their hands to display the sign of "T" for expressing objection to the error made and call for a halt to the proceedings for immediate correction, the statement read.
Meanwhile, a briefing session by SF&OC on the guidelines will be held on 24 November 2022 for the office bearers and staff of NSAs to attend. Such briefing session will be held at least once a year by SF&OC to ensure that all members of NSAs are to be reminded of the importance of this subject.
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