China’s parliament has voted to make disrespecting the country’s national anthem a criminal offense with a penalty of up to three years in prison.
Image: Chinese president Xi Jinping
The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress added an amendment to the country’s criminal law to include punishment for anyone found “seriously” disrespecting the national anthem in public.
Xinhua, China’s official news agency, reports those found guilty of violating the ban on disrespecting the national anthem could also be deprived of their political rights.
This most recent move comes after China recently tightened restrictions on when and where people can play the national anthem. In September, the country passed a law that could put residents in jail for up to 15 days if they play the national anthem at a party or wedding.
According to the National Anthem Law, ‘The March of the Volunteers’ can no longer be played as background music in public places and ‘inappropriate’ private performances of the song are also forbidden.
The legislature moved to apply the less expansive to Hong Kong and Macau – semi-autonomous regions in China with their own legal systems – in response to soccer fans in those areas who regularly boo as the anthem is played.
Disrespect for the national anthem has also been a topic of discussion in the United States recently as some players in the National Football League continue to kneel instead of stand during the anthem before games.
The U.S. protest movement was started by Colin Kaepernick, a quarterback with the San Francisco 49ers, who said he would never “stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”
U.S. President Donald Trump has forcefully opposed the protests, which he’s called disrespectful, and said he thinks players who disrespect the national anthem should be fired.