China gets tough on an­them dis­re­spect

The Guardian Weekly - - World Roundup -

China has made dis­re­spect of the na­tional an­them a crime pun­ish­able by up to three years in jail, as it fo­cuses on ce­ment­ing the pa­tri­otic “China dream” of its in­creas­ingly au­thor­i­tar­ian pres­i­dent, Xi Jin­ping.

The new law is likely to alarm cit­i­zens of Hong Kong and Ma­cau, where the March of the Vol­un­teers has been a flash­point for un­rest, amid grow­ing con­cerns about Bei­jing’s ef­forts to ex­ert its con­trol over the city states. Some Hong Kong foot­ball fans have booed the an­them dur­ing matches.

Pro-democ­racy ac­tivists fear the law will be used to un­der­mine free­dom of speech and protest.

Cit­i­zens of Hong Kong and Ma­cau are not di­rectly sub­ject to the law, passed last Satur­day by China’s par­lia­ment, be­cause they have their own le­gal sys­tems. But a sep­a­rate de­cree man­dat­ing 15 days in jail for dis­re­spect of the flag was also writ­ten into their con­sti­tu­tions.

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