Hong Kong’s anthem boo-boys are just uncivilised losers

The behaviour of some fans at soccer matches is disgraceful and cannot simply be dismissed as an expression of discontent against the mainland

PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 October, 2017, 12:59am
UPDATED : Friday, 13 October, 2017, 12:59am

Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor mostly steered clear of contentious political issues in her maiden policy address. But in a press conference afterwards, she singled out for criticism local fans who booed the national anthem at soccer matches.

She went for the usual patriotic line. “I must make it clear that this is an issue of respect for the nation and whether you recognise that you are Chinese,” she said. The latest incident was at Tuesday’s match between Hong Kong and Malaysia.

No doubt Lam was speaking as much to the central government as to Hong Kong people.

Booing Chinese national anthem a ‘serious issue’ about respect and identity, Hong Kong leader says

Yes, the behaviour of those fans was disgraceful and wrong on so many levels, but it’s not just because they booed the Chinese national anthem, among other rude gestures and antisocial acts. They should be condemned for booing any nation’s anthem and perhaps for their boorish behaviour, regardless of the target of their contempt. Their actions are enough to invite sanctions; anti-mainland sentiments just cloud the issue.

An anthem represents a country and its people. Maybe you don’t like its government, its ruling political party, or even some aspects of its people. But that’s your own personal political stance. In such a public context as a sports event, it’s simple decency to show respect when a country’s anthem is played.

Some Hong Kong people rationalise such misbehaviour by saying, oh, they are just expressing discontent against the central government, not against people on the mainland. Others just say Hongkongers can boo anything mainland-related any time they like on Hong Kong soil. Well, people don’t know what’s on your mind. They don’t know if you are booing the state, the people, the country or the whole Chinese race. All they can see is you are showing disrespect and contempt for them, and indeed, a lack of self-respect for yourself.

Some opposition politicians say such fans are exercising free speech, even if they are being disagreeable.

What nonsense! If those fans were singling out any other country for booing, they would have been richly condemned for their xenophobia. But since it’s China, it’s somehow OK.

Yes, it’s difficult to legislate against such behaviour. As they say, it takes “the whole village” to show these people that their infantile behaviour is unacceptable and intolerable. It is beneath us as a civilised community.