Hong Kong has criticised organisers for playing the wrong national anthem ©Getty Images

An official from the Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong (SF&OC) has rejected an apology from the organisers of a powerlifting competition in Dubai for playing a protest song instead of the national anthem.

Glory to Hong Kong was played at the Asian Classic Powerlifting Championship in the United Arab Emirates, weeks after the same mistake was made during a rugby sevens match between Hong Kong and South Korea.

This song was popular during the 2019 democracy protests in the territory, with citizens critical of the crackdown from mainland China on civil liberties.

Some dub it the unofficial national anthem of Hong Kong, but its national anthem is in fact March of the Volunteers, the same as China's.

Gold medallist Susanna Lin made a "time out" gesture in the shape of a "T" while on the podium.

The SF&OC set guidelines for athletes to make the "T" sign if the wrong anthem was played.

Ronnie Wong, honorary secretary general of the SF&OC did not accept the apology that came from Asian Powerlifting Federation President Farshid Soltani, according to The Standard.

Soltani said staff members did not know what anthem to play.

"I don't think this is an adequate explanation," said Wong.

"When you hire volunteers for international competitions, you have to make sure they have relevant experience… 

"If you were 'careless', you could have played any other song. 

"Why was it this one?"

Hong Kong's loss of sovereignty to China has long been protested ©Getty Images
Hong Kong's loss of sovereignty to China has long been protested ©Getty Images

Following the error at the rugby sevens match, Asia Rugby President Qais Abdulla Al Dhalai flew to the city to apologise in person.

Organisers had downloaded the top recommendation when searching online.

On Google, typing "Hong Kong national anthem" first shows a search for Glory to Hong Kong.

Hong Kong's national anthem was previously incorrectly labelled as the song on an on-screen infographic during their rugby union Final Qualification Tournament match for the 2023 Rugby World Cup against Portugal, as well as one against Tonga.

Hong Kong, which was previously a British Overseas Territory, was handed over to China in 1997, with the 25th anniversary of the event taking place on July 1 this year.

March of the Volunteers has been used since that date as the national anthem.