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The government of Hong Kong is considering a bill that would criminalize disrespect for the Chinese national anthem, reports revealed Wednesday.
Opposition leaders denounced the measure as another sacrifice of Hong Kong’s unique freedoms, an act of Chinese dominance that makes the “one country, two systems” idea more difficult to sustain.
Bill - City - Legislature - Jan - Passage
“The bill, which will be introduced in the city’s pro-Beijing legislature Jan. 23 for passage by the summer, is modeled on a similar law in mainland China. Aside from providing guidance on etiquette when the national anthem is played, it also stipulates that primary and high school children—including in international schools—should be taught to sing the anthem and to learn its history,” the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.
The Journal explained the drive to criminalize disrespect for the Chinese anthem began with soccer fans booing the song at the height of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests in 2014. Those who dare such impudence after the bill is passed, or who even “distort” the anthem too much while singing it, will face steep fines equal to about $6,400 U.S. and up to three years in prison, similar to the penalty for “mistreating” the Chinese flag.
Anthem - Legislators - Forces - Hong - Kong
The anthem would be required listening when legislators are sworn in, which would give pro-China forces in Hong Kong even more latitude to crack down on opposition lawmakers who attempt to make political statements during their oath ceremonies, a practice that is already severely frowned upon. For that matter, democracy activism is frowned upon to such an extent that the opposition probably lacks the legislative strength to block the Chinese anthem measure.
Hong Kong Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Patrick Nip Tak-kuen said on Wednesday that if opposition legislators decide to skip their swearing-in ceremonies because they do not want to recite the oath or pay respects to the...
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