|"Let's jeer the Chinese national anthem; it certainly ain't ours!"|
Well, some prefer not to. Since the 1997 handover by the British to the Chinese, the "March of Volunteers"--China's national anthem--has been Hong Kong's, too. So, pro-democracy campaigners have used the playing of this anthem to jeer their erstwhile PRC oppressors. Apparently, even the hyper-corrupt FIFA has had enough. In the latest booing episode, the Hong Kong Football Assocoation has been hit with a fairly stiff fine over the behavior of Hong Kong fans:
Fifa have fined the Hong Kong Football association (HKFA) £3,400 after Hong Kong fans booed the Chinese national anthem during a World Cup qualifier last month. Hong Kong has shared the anthem with mainland China since British rule ended in 1997 and disgruntled fans jeered 'March of the Volunteers' in the wake of their 3-2 defeat to Qatar.But wait, the excitement is set to be ratcheted up further as Hong Kong meets China for the right to play in the next World Cup:
Reports also claim that an object was thrown onto the pitch during the incident. Fifa warned Hong Kong's supporters about their conduct prior to the game as the anthem had been booed twice previously, but their warning was not heeded.
Sarah Lee, a spokesperson for HKFA, said that the association were keen to install a "positive atmosphere" in order to deter booing in the future. Hong Kong's relationship with the mainland has become tense in recent years and culminated in a string of pro-democracy protests last year.When you're fined by FIFA over governance matters, wow, that's pretty bad. More fireworks are probably in store, though. Politics and football often mix: see the US national team being booed by Latin fans on American soil when meeting Mexico's squad. Or, think about Barcelona FC stalwarts supporting Catalan independence.
Hong Kong are scheduled to play mainland China on November 17 and have an opportunity to leapfrog their opponents in Group C as they attempt to qualify for a World Cup for the first time.