Hong Kong National Federations are expected to feature China in their names going forward ©Getty Images

The Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China (SF&OC) is looking to make it mandatory for all of its recognised National Federations to include China in their respective names.

South China Morning Post has reported those who fail to comply by July of this year, risk losing funding and its athletes being unable to represent the territory at international events.

Hong Kong is a part of China, having been handed over by the United Kingdom in 1997.

Since China became the sovereign ruler of the autonomous territory, the freedoms and devolved rights of Hong Kong citizens have slowly regressed; effectively eradicating the "one country, two systems" format in the nation.

The SF&OC told bodies they must comply within six months, with Government funding dependent on being a member of the SF&OC.

A letter was sent to organisations who do not sport the name "China" in its title on this matter, with these including the Hong Kong Football Association and the Hong Kong Rugby Union.

Approximately 25 per cent of the 83 National Federations in Hong Kong feature "China" in its name - only 19 of them.

The SF&OC has had "China" in its name for over 20 years, first adopting this in 1999.

SF&OC honorary secretary general Edgar Yang Joe-tsi cited Article 149 of the Basic Law for this requirement, according to the South China Morning Post.

Hong Kong is an autonomous territory, part of China ©Getty Images
Hong Kong is an autonomous territory, part of China ©Getty Images

He says the article requires "Hong Kong, China" to be used internationally, however the wording of Article 149 says this is to be used "as required", which national bodies have taken to mean it is not mandatory.

Assimilation has been a major part of mainland China's strategy in the territory, with over one million people migrating to Hong Kong, with critics claiming this was to dispel a democratic uprising.

Hong Kong is able to exist as an autonomous entity until 2047, as part of an agreement during the handover.

Increased interference by the mainland - which clamped down on political protests - led to a new national security in 2020.

Although Hong Kong has its own flag for podium ceremonies, the territory still shares a national anthem with China.

Recently, some international sporting events have accidentally played Glory to Hong Kong, a protest song closely linked to pro-democracy activism there, leading to the SF&OC expressing its outrage over the mistake.