Hong Kong arrests harmonica player during Queen’s Newake for sedition | Hong-Kong

A Hong Konger who played a harmonica to a crowd outside the British consulate at Elizabeth II’s funeral has been arrested for sedition, police and local media say.

Crowds of Hongkongers have lined up this week to pay tribute to Britain’s late monarch, some expressing nostalgia for the city’s colonial past at a time when Beijing is trying to purge dissent.

Hundreds gathered outside the consulate Monday night as Britain held a state funeral, shared live streams on phones and laid candles and flowers.

At one point, a man started playing songs on a harmonica, according to an AFP reporter on the ground, including the British national anthem and Glory to Hong Kong, a popular song during massive, sometimes violent, pro-democracy protests in 2019.

The mourners outside the consulate applauded the performance and shone their phone lights, and many later chanted the protest song “Hong Kongers add oil” and sang Glory to Hong Kong.

Local reporters later photographed the harmonica player who was questioned by police and detained.

On Tuesday, police said a 43-year-old man named Pang had been arrested outside the consulate for “seditious acts”. A police source confirmed to AFP that the arrested man was the harmonica player.

After 8pm, people outside BCG shouted “Hong Kongers Add Oil” and chanted a portion of “Glory to Hong Kong” after a man started playing harmonica on the sidewalk opposite the consular building. pic.twitter.com/ufQ1DHuyGz

— Xinqi Su (@XinqiSu) September 19, 2022

Following the anti-democracy protests in 2019, China has cracked down on dissent in Hong Kong using national security legislation and charges of sedition.

The latter is a colonial-era law that was forgotten for decades until prosecutors reintroduced it in the wake of the protests.

The song Glory to Hong Kong features the popular protest song “Free Hong Kong, Revolution of Our Time”, which has been declared a threat to national security by the courts.

A man in his 60s was charged with performing without a license earlier this year after playing the song on his erhu, a Chinese two-stringed instrument, at a bus station.

Oliver Ma, a Filipino-Hong Kong busker, was arrested three times in 2020 and 2021 for singing the English version of the protest song on the streets of Hong Kong.

Hong Kong was a British colony for over 150 years, and although the financial center was returned to China in 1997, its past is engraved in the landscape, from street names and the ubiquity of English to the common law legal system.

In the week since the Queen’s death, more than 13,000 people signed a book of condolences at the city’s British Consulate.

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