Hong Kong soccer fans boo Chinese national anthem at World Cup qualifier

Hong Kong soccer fans loudly booed when the Chinese national anthem blared from the speakers prior to the start of a World Cup qualifier match against Iran on Tuesday amid the ongoing, monthslong protests in the city.

Instead, the crowd began to sing “Glory to Hong Kong,” a song that reflects their campaign for more democratic freedoms in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory. Fans also changed “Fight for freedom” and “Revolution of our Times” during the match.

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At least one fan had a sign which read “Hong Kong is not China.”

Hong Kong soccer fans turn their back and boo the Chinese national anthem as they chant "Hong Kong is not China" during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup 2023 Preliminary Joint Qualification Round 2 soccer match between Hong Kong and Iran. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Hong Kong soccer fans turn their back and boo the Chinese national anthem as they chant "Hong Kong is not China" during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup 2023 Preliminary Joint Qualification Round 2 soccer match between Hong Kong and Iran. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

“Hong Kong people are united. We will speak up for freedom and democracy,” Leo Fan, one of the 13,000 reported spectators, said after the match.

Protests against China have now entered its third month in Hong Kong over an extradition bill that would have sent some residents to mainland China for trial. The government promised last week to withdraw the bill but that failed to appease the protesters, whose demands now include democratic reforms and police accountability.

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For what it’s worth, Iran defeated Hong Kong 2-0.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.