Exco OKs proposed Anthem Law, report says

Local | 8 Jan 2019 5:04 pm

The Executive Council on Tuesday approved the government's proposed Anthem Law, which will criminalise disrespect or misuse of the national anthem, RTHK reported, citing sources.

The law will also stipulate that the "March of the Volunteers" must be played at a number of occasions, including the oath-taking ceremonies of the Chief Executive, Executive Council and Legislative Council members.

The bill, to be tabled to Legco before the end of this month, is expected to set out three-year prison terms and fines of HK$50,000 for offenders.

Civic Party leader Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu said his party would not support the controversial legislation.

"The Civic Party will oppose the bill in light of the fact that we do not see any clarification on the meaning of 'disrespecting' the national anthem. We believe that such a bill will jeopardize freedom of speech and freedom of creation," Yeung said.

In November 2017, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress voted to introduce the mainland's national anthem law into the annex of Hong Kong's Basic Law.

At the time, Beijing officials said it was urgent that Hong Kong enacts its own legislation because incidents where the national anthem had been "disrespected" in the SAR had caused outrage among Chinese people and "challenged social morality".

The anthem has been booed at a number of Hong Kong football matches in recent years, by local fans.

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