Monday, 18 November, 2019


Chinese Draft Law Mandates Jail Time for Disrespecting National Anthem, Flag

FILE Hong Kong fans hold banners and character signs which read Chinese Draft Law Mandates Jail Time for Disrespecting National Anthem, Flag
Bennie Garza | 01 November, 2017, 00:30

Controversy has swirled for months in the US about athletes, particularly those in the National Football League, kneeling during the national anthem to protest racism and police killings of African-Americans.

China's parliament on Monday began considering an amendment to stiffen punishments for showing "disrespect" to the national anthem, which could bring violators as long as three years in prison.

Xi Jinping has ushered in new legislation aimed at securing China from threats both within and outside its borders since taking over as president in 2013, as well as presiding over a sweeping crackdown on dissent and free speech.

In September, China's rubber stamp parliament passed a national anthem law stipulating 15 day detention for anyone disrespecting the country's national anthem - "March of the Volunteers".

The tougher penalties also apply to desecration of the national flag, or emblem, including burning, defacing or trampling on it in public, the report said. A draft amendment was submitted for the lawmakers' deliberation at the bi-monthly session of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, which started yesterday.

Currently, those who play or sing the national anthem in a distorted or disrespectful way, or who modify the anthem lyrics to make a parody can be detained for up to 15 days with possible criminal charges filed against them.

Under the new measures "punishment ranges from removal of political rights and public surveillance to criminal detention and imprisonment of up to three years", said the Xinhua state news agency. Law may apply to HK, Macau The law may also apply to Hong Kong and Macau.

Soccer fans in the Chinese semiautonomous region have booed the anthem when it's played at games between the home team and teams from China or other countries, leading to fines from Federation Internationale de Football Association, the sport's governing body.

The National Anthem Law is among laws relating to defense, foreign affairs and other matters outside the limits of the autonomy of the two SARs, according to Zhang Rongshun, deputy director of the Legislative Affairs Commission of the NPC Standing Committee.

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