A Hong Kong court sentenced a man to three months imprisonment on Thursday for allegedly insulting China's national anthem by splicing a protest song onto a video clip of a Hong Kong athlete being presented a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics.
Magistrate Minnie Wat said a deterrent sentence was needed as the anthem is a symbol of a country's dignity and territorial integrity.
Photographer Cheng Wing-chun, 27, had earlier this month been found guilty of insulting the anthem at the Eastern Magistrates' Court. He had pleaded not guilty.
The court heard how Cheng had uploaded a YouTube video in which he substituted China's national anthem with a popular protest song, "Glory to Hong Kong" during a gold medal presentation ceremony for Hong Kong fencer Edgar Cheung.
The video was widely shared with 90,000 views, according to the magistrate.
The criminalization of 'disrespect of China's national anthem'
Cheng is the first person tried under the national anthem law that was passed in 2020. It criminalizes disrespect of China's national anthem, with up to three years imprisonment or fines of up to HK$50,000 (US$ 6,400).
The legality of "Glory To Hong Kong" - a popular protest song during the city's months-long pro-democracy protests in 2019 - is now being determined by a Hong Kong court after the government sought a legal injunction seeking to ban the playing and distribution of the song, including its lyrics and melody.