National Anthem Protesters In China Face 3 Years Of Jail Time

In what has been a very controversial few months surrounding the national anthem here in the United States, it appears as if things are also heating up across the globe. China is now considering passing a bill mandating prison sentences of up to three years for disrespecting the national anthem.

The new legislation would be coming at the ruling of rising nationalist appeals form the Communist Party, who is currently lead by President Xi Jinping.  At the start of October, it was made illegal to display mockery of the anthem in the mainland and now there is a push to make penalties even harsher with the jail time proposal.

Along with anything that can be deemed as disrespectful to the flag, such as kneeling, anyone who maliciously modifies the lyrics in a distorted way in public can currently be detained and jailed for 15 days.

On Monday, a draft amendment was submitted for consideration for those who violate the anthem known as the “March of the Volunteers,” which was raised to official status in 1982.  

If you’re curious, you can listen to what the anthem sounds like here:

Since taking office in 2012, President Xi has tried to establish himself as a very patriotic leader who doesn’t want any disrespect towards national dignity. He favors a strong military, borders and aggressive economic expansion, and also limited criticism for political disagreement.

With that said, it seems as if President Xi and President Trump can draw some similarities in aspects of their leadership style, especially in regard to being viewed as patriotic leaders for their respective nations. Like President Xi, President Trump has been very outspoken about banning protests against their national anthems.

President Trump Tweeted this last month about the national anthem protests:

Here are the two leaders pictured together:

In some areas, like Hong Kong, the law for 15 days of jail time is not currently being enforced. Fans there usually boo and turn their backs against the Chinese national anthem when it is played at the beginning of games.

Here is a video of some fans protesting in Hong Kong at a soccer game:

The new bill calling for up to three years of jail time will most likely be enforced in the Hong Kong region. Earlier this month, top officials in Hong Kong said they are already considering how to best implement the new law if passed. They have said they want to “keep in mind Hong Kong’s own legal and constitutional traditions” as best as possible.

In the region, there is some backlash to the new law.

“When Hong Kong is transforming the clause into local law, the matching penalty should not be lower than the national standard otherwise it will be seen as violating the implementation of the higher-level law,” said Tian Feilong, an academic at Beihang University’s law school in Beijing.

Tian believes that three years behind bars is way too harsh for “hurting national dignity” and he believes that it is trying to suppress “Hong Kong Independence.”

The potential new law has created lots of discussion on Twitter:

What do you think about the new proposal? Would it be too strict if enforced? Let us know.

— PJ Amirata

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