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Defiant Hong Kong Children Drown Out Chinese Anthem With Stirring 'Les Mis' Song

"Do You Hear the People Sing?" has become an unofficial anthem of protesters in Hong Kong.

Students at a Hong Kong school drowned out the Chinese national anthem at a ceremony marking the start of the year with a rousing version of “Do You Hear the People Sing?” from the musical “Les Misérables.” 

Footage shows teachers standing stoically as students sing: “Do you hear the people sing?/Singing a song of angry men?/It is the music of a people/Who will not be slaves again!”

The footage is going viral on social media: 

A longer clip since removed from YouTube showed the students singing the song twice, at the start of the ceremony and as the teachers filed out at the end. 

The song has become an anthem for protesters in the city seeking greater democracy

The footage shared on YouTube and Twitter appears to be from Po Leung Kuk Celine Ho Yam Tong College.

Like many secondary schools in Hong Kong, the school has “college” in the name but educates children who in the United States would be roughly the age of students in middle school and high school. 

The start of the school year in Hong Kong has been marked by more protests, along with student-led strikes and boycotts, as well as demonstrations and songs. 

To some commenters, the moment called to mind a scene in “Casablanca” in which singing German officers are drowned out by “La Marseillaise.”  

Herbert Kretzmer, who wrote the lyrics to the musical, said in June that he felt a lump in his throat when he heard protesters in Hong Kong singing it. 

“Today I can hear people around the world singing the verses I penned because they feel injustice and want change,” he wrote in the Daily Mail, adding:  

“Do you hear the people of Hong Kong? They are standing up for their rights.

At 93, I can only be with them in spirit. But my words are on their lips — and I am singing with them, too.”

 

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