How Hong Kong got a new protest song

4 months ago
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How Hong Kong got a new protest song

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Media captionGlory to Hong Kong: Singing the city's new protest anthem

The protesters in Hong Kong are embracing a new tune.

Glory to Hong Kong, a four-verse song with Cantonese lyrics that references "tears on our land" and "democracy and liberty", has been picked up in recent weeks by thousands of people gathering in shopping malls, football match and parks.

It was written only recently by a local musician in his mid-20s, who only wishes to be identified as "Thomas".

He told BBC News Chinese he hoped the song would "unite Hong Kongers and boost public morale".

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Image caption Earlier this week, people gathered in shopping malls to sing out the lyrics of 'Glory to Hong Kong'

"I came up with the melody... in early August. And from there I wrote the rest of the song," he said.

Despite the government scrapping the extradition bill which sparked the initial unrest, the protestors are continuing their action, and have expanded their demands to include full democracy and an investigation into alleged police abuses.

Thomas told the BBC "people were growing tired and weary" after three months of protests, but that there's "now new energy in the movement and protesters seem to have been re-energised".

Where did the song come from?

Singing has played a large part in the protests since they began in June. The Christian hymn Sing Hallelujah to the Lord and Do You Hear the People Sing? from hit Broadway musical Les Miserables have proved particularly popular.

Lots of people have also been writing and sharing their own protest compositions, or sharing their ideas for possible lyrics.

A few weeks ago, Thomas posted the first version of Glory to Hong Kong - sometimes translated as Glory be to thee, Hong Kong - on LIHKG, a local Reddit-like forum (link in Cantonese).

He said he felt the need for a song that captured the energy of the protesters, so composed the marching-style tune.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption One protesters said the movement had needed a song "to connect" - and this did just that

"In the Umbrella Movement [the 2014 protests] people sang pop songs and at the time I already felt that that style and rhythm didn't really capture the passion and excitement of protests," he said.

"I wanted to write a song showing Hong Kong's fight for democracy and freedom."

And, after a few refinements to the lyrics, it became a viral hit online and on the streets.

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