Have Hong Kong-China tensions found a new battleground?

August 1, 2019


A video featuring two ice hockey teams engaged in a mass brawl in Beijing has been making the rounds on social media. 


While a common occurrence in the sport of ice hockey, the wider political context surrounding the two teams has undoubtedly contributed to its viral appeal. 


The footage depicts Hong Kong ice hockey players trading blows with their mainland Chinese counterparts with the words "Guangdong Shenzhen" displayed on their jerseys, in a match believed to be part of the recently concluded 2nd Youth Games of the People's Republic of China. 


Pleas from spectators for the players to stop fell on deaf ears, with the referee declining to intervene for the most part. 



Hong Kong were leading 11-2 at the time but showed scant signs of retaliation, though it is not clear which side were the instigators or what sparked the incident.


Although fighting has historically been part and parcel of the game, a 10 minute 'misconduct' penalty can be applied to offenders according to the referee's discretion.


There is a school of thought that views such confrontations not only as permissible, but even to be encouraged in order to increase entertainment value, amid other reasons such as boosting team morale and for the sake of plain old tradition. 


Regardless of the cause and consequences, it seems impossible not to perceive the outbreak of violence through the lens of ongoing unrest in Hong Kong, as protestors continue to engage in demonstrations, online campaigns and civil disobedience to voice their disapproval of local government and the Chinese regime. 



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