Why do we respect our national anthem
Hong Kongers should respect China's anthem
At the end of 2017, China's National People's Congress added the "Chinese National Anthem Law" to Appendix 3 of the Hong Kong Basic Law. On Friday, the Hong Kong government initiated the legislative process to incorporate the said law into local Hong Kong law.
According to the draft, the head of the Special Administrative Region should have the right to decide on which occasions the Chinese national anthem is to be heard. That shouldn't be a problem with his officials, but that's a tiny minority. The majority of Hong Kong residents speak Cantonese and may have problems texting in Mandarin.
Boos in Cantonese: "Boo"
Nonetheless, the Hong Kong government believes it is very "unlikely" that a Hong Kong citizen will "unintentionally" violate the requirement to respect the national anthem. The decisive passage reads: Anyone who "publicly and consciously changes the text or the melody or presents the song in a distorting or degrading manner" faces up to three years imprisonment or a fine of the equivalent of 6,000 euros. The first reading of the bill is due to take place in July in the Hong Kong Parliament (Legco), where the government has a majority.
Furthermore, the students have to learn the national anthem, its history and its "spirit". According to the Hong Kong government, however, this is already required by the school authorities and is nothing new in this respect.
No more protests in the football stadium
The Hong Kong football fans provided the reason for the law. Boos and whistles were heard at many of the Hong Kong team's official games to drown out the Chinese national anthem. Hong Kong is a full member of the world football association FIFA. However, since the team was returned to China in 1997, the Chinese national anthem has to be played before each game.
The Hong Kong Football Association HKFA expects legal clarity as soon as possible. Pui Kwan Kay, vice president of the association, wants to blacklist booing football fans as soon as the law comes into force in Hong Kong. Political protests should be banned in stadiums, says Pui, who is considered a tough partisan of the CCP in Hong Kong. Whistling fans would have to be excluded from the game.
Hong Kong's City Parliament
According to the South China Morning Post, Hong Kong fans have booed 14 games in a row when the Chinese anthem was played. Because of such incidents, the Hong Kong Football Association had to pay FIFA $ 3,000 in 2015.
Sad ending for the anthem's author
The Chinese national anthem is called "March of the Volunteers and the Brave" and was created in the 1930s during the war against Japan, before the outbreak of World War II. The beginning of the text reads: "Stand up! All who do not want to become slaves. Let us build the new wall with our blood and flesh. The Chinese nation is in danger. The downtrodden last cry is heard." The author was the playwright Tian Han, who fell out of favor as a "deviator" during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) and died in prison in 1968 as a result of abuse. It was not until 1979 that he was rehabilitated post mortem.
"Respect for the national anthem should be deeply rooted in the heart and cannot simply be prescribed by law," says Andrew Wan Siu-kin of the opposition Democratic Party. "The new draft law is only a basis for discussion," says Starry Lee Wai-king, chairman of the pro-China Democratic Alliance (DAB). "Citizens now have the opportunity to voice their concerns."
Prime Minister Carrie Lam
Chung Kim-wah, a sociologist at Hong Kong University of Technology, believes the high sentence is a deterrent to the central government. "As soon as the symbols of political power such as the national flag or national anthem are questioned, the leaders see their personal authority threatened." National anthem prosecution could affect anyone who wants to sing, Chung says. Prosecution for burning the national flag could be more difficult because not everyone in Hong Kong has a Chinese flag. But anyone can sing at any time.
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