Three individuals detained for “disrespecting” Chinese national anthem during World Cup qualifying match

In recent events, three individuals were arrested for allegedly disrespecting China’s national anthem during a 2026 World Cup Asian qualifier football match in Hong Kong. According to law enforcement officials, the trio, who were between the ages of 18 and 31, turned their backs to the field and failed to stand during a broadcast of the Chinese national anthem “March of the Volunteers” at the beginning of the match.

The incident occurred at the stadium where Iran was playing against Hong Kong. Plainclothes police officers were reportedly present at the game when they witnessed the alleged offense. Following their arrest, all three individuals were released on bail the next morning pending further investigation. They were required to report back to the police in July for additional questioning.

In June 2020, Hong Kong implemented the National Anthem Ordinance, which criminalizes insults to the national anthem. The law mandates that all individuals and organizations must respect and preserve the dignity of the national anthem and sing it on appropriate occasions. Any violations of this law can result in up to three years of imprisonment and fines of up to HK$50,000 (US$6,400).

As tensions continue to rise in Hong Kong, stricter security measures have been implemented, including legislation to supplement the national security law. The crackdown on dissent and protests in the region has been a cause for concern among activists and citizens alike.

By Sophia Gonzalez

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