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Demonstrators sing during a rally at Chater Garden, Hong Kong, October 26, 2019.  © 2019 Mark Schiefelbein/AP Images

(New York) – Tech companies should oppose the Hong Kong government’s application for an injunction to ban broadcasting and distribution of the 2019 protest song, “Glory to Hong Kong,” Human Rights Watch said today.

In a June 20, 2023 letter, more than 24 human rights and digital rights groups urged companies including Apple, Google, Meta, Twitter, and Spotify to oppose a potential injunction by the High Court of Hong Kong to protect the right to freedom of expression and access to information in Hong Kong and around the world. The injunction, if ordered by the court, would require that companies remove the song from their respective platforms, effectively banning it online.

“Hong Kong is at the fault line between a globally free internet and a walled-off version tightly controlled by the Chinese government,” said Maya Wang, associate Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Tech companies need to oppose this injunction to protect free speech and access to information online from the Chinese government’s encroachment.”

The sought-for injunction reflects the Chinese government’s expanding efforts to control information not just within its borders, but around the world. Between July 2020 and June 2022, the Hong Kong government was responsible for 50 instances in which Meta said it was forced to remove content globally. 

In their letter, the human rights and digital rights groups urged tech companies to take a collective stance against the Hong Kong government’s censorship and oppose the injunction, which would have disastrous affects not only within Hong Kong, but globally.

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