HK to lengthen Chinese anthem’s air time

Associated Press

Hong Kong, May 14:

Hong Kong plans to lengthen nightly television broadcasts of China’s national anthem, despite charges by critics that the current shorter version is an attempt at brainwashing.

The current 45-second video, in which China’s national anthem is played over a montage of patriotic images, has been shown every night ahead of the news since October, sparking worries Beijing is trying to indoctrinate people in free-spirited Hong Kong.

Despite complaints, officials have decided to begin broadcasting a new one-minute version on May 23.

The longer video will include comments by Hong Kong action movie star Jackie Chan and other public figures on the history, lyrics and meaning of the national anthem, said Lily Chen, a Home Affairs Bureau spokeswoman.

“We want to enhance the general public’s knowledge of the anthem,” she said.

The current video, titled “Our Home, Our Country,” has drawn complaints from the public. It includes images of the first Chinese astronaut, Yang Liwei, Chinese Olympic medalists, and members of the People’s Liberation Army.

Many of Hong Kong’s 6.8 million residents have remained leery of Beijing’s communist government since Britain returned the territory to China in 1997.

Opposition lawmaker Emily Lau slammed the government’s decision to lengthen the video as

a move to instill blind patriotism.

“This is outrageous. Instead of scrapping it, they are making it longer. This is like asking people to turn off their TVs,” she was quoted as saying in the South China Morning Post. “Patriotism should be a self-initiative.”