China gets tough on anthem disrespect
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.