Hong Kong soccer fans have loudly booed China's national anthem at a match in the Chinese-controlled city.

The jeering Thursday night defied Beijing days after Communist leaders tightened penalties for disrespecting the song.

The long-simmering anthem controversy highlights increasingly tense relations between mainland China and the semiautonomous former British colony, where pro-democracy activists say Beijing is tightening its grip.

It mirrors a similar debate in the United States, where some football players have kneeled on one knee when the "Star Spangled Banner" was played to protest racial inequality, prompting President Donald Trump to urge team owners to fire them.

Anthem jeering reflects the wider concerns of some Hong Kong residents determined to resist mainland China's growing influence on the Cantonese-speaking territory.