Tokyo Olympics update
Sign up for myFT Daily Digest and be the first to learn about the Tokyo Olympics news.
As an entity independent of mainland China, the future of the Hong Kong Olympic team is guaranteed. Although the historical achievements of the Hong Kong Olympic team in the past week have exposed political tensions, Fok Zhenting, the chairman of the games in the region, said.
Hong Kong swimmer Siobhan Haughey won his second silver medal in Tokyo on Friday, consolidating the most successful Olympic Games in the city’s history. Fencer Zhang Jialong won the first gold medal in the foil competition since it was handed over to the city from the UK in 1997.
However, when the Chinese national anthem played when he received the prize on the podium in Tokyo this week sounded, the Hong Kong people celebrating his gold medal booed and shouted “We are Hong Kong.” Their joy of victory was quickly affected by politics. melted.
The police have launched an investigation and said on Friday that they had arrested a 40-year-old man who was also waving the colonial flag of Hong Kong at the scene for insulting the national anthem.
Although Beijing suppressed dissidents after anti-government protests in 2019, this manifestation of resistance is a clear reminder that there is still strong dissatisfaction in Asian financial centers.
Last year, China imposed a strict new national security law on Hong Kong. The first person to be convicted under the legislation was a former waiter who broke into the cordon on a motorcycle last year because Nine years imprisonment on Friday.
But Huo, chairman of the Hong Kong National Olympic Committee, said he has urged athletes to ignore these controversies. He said that China has an understanding that Hong Kong and the mainland have “different identities” and there is no plan to integrate the Hong Kong team with the larger neighbor’s team.
“they have [1bn] People, we are only 7m. I am very proud of this new encouragement and success. Sports will become an important part of Hong Kong’s development. “
The Hong Kong authorities are keen to prove that the crackdown did not affect the vitality of the city. Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam said last week that Hong Kong’s arts and culture are “booming” and people’s freedoms have not been weakened.
After 1997, the city gained a high degree of autonomy and freedom of speech. This autonomy is symbolized by Hong Kong’s right to have its own Olympic team, although it has also agreed to play the Chinese national anthem at the medal ceremony for athletes in the region.
Chen Shushu, a lecturer in sports policy at the University of Birmingham, said that the mainland has given strong support to the development of elite sports in Hong Kong.
She said: “I don’t think the Chinese government will advocate that Hong Kong athletes should be included under China’s main banner in future Olympics.” “That will lose Hong Kong’s sense of identity… I think this is not what the Chinese government wants to do. .”
Tan Yaozhong, the sole representative of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress in Hong Kong, said that under the situation of “one country, two systems”, it is unlikely that the Chinese government will change its autonomy policy in Hong Kong. Since the handover.
The only other gold medal winner in Hong Kong, windsurfer Li Lishan, received her medal in the performance of the “Queen of God” at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics under the British colonial flag of Hong Kong.
Zhang’s parents are both basketball players in the Chinese National League. He is a cat lover and often posts pictures of his American shorthair cat Ziba. “It is of great significance to show the world that we can do this,” he said. “We are not just a city. We can fight for victory.”
Although Zhang did not make any political comments after the victory, the democratic groups quickly seized the victory. During the 2019 protests, anti-government demonstrators sang their national anthem “Glorious Return to Hong Kong” in a shopping mall. After Zhang’s ceremony, netizens replaced the songs in the viral video showing Zhang on the Tokyo podium with the Chinese national anthem.
The pro-Beijing camp in Hong Kong has also sparked controversy. Senator Nicholas Muk criticized one of Hong Kong’s top badminton players for wearing a black T-shirt — the color favored by protesters in 2019 — for not displaying the Hong Kong flag.
After Mook accused him of supporting the pro-democracy movement, player Wu Jialong wore a different shirt to try to calm things down because he was also attacked by Chinese netizens.
Although he was the eighth seed in the men’s singles competition, he was defeated by the 59th-ranked Guatemalan badminton player Kevin Corden, causing many supporters to accuse Mook of distracting Wu.
“No influence may not be true. I have been trying to calm down, I want to focus on the game,” Wu Enda said after the loss. “But how could I forget it completely.”