Back in June, China proposed a law making insulting its national anthem – March of the Volunteers – a criminal offence, subject to 15 days in prison (I wrote about it here).
Well, on Friday it finally went ahead and, ridiculously, passed the thing, as Reuters reports.
The final law is wider than the original proposal. Playing the anthem is now banned “as background music and in advertisements,” as well as at funerals, weddings and “on other inappropriate occasions”. You could be locked up if you “distort” or “mock” it, the law goes on.
Those attending public events must stand to attention and sing in a solemn manner when the anthem is played, it says.
By my reckoning, this means blokes in their bedrooms doing rock covers like the one below are now fugitives:
Please hide him if you can!
More importantly, expect China’s anthem to soon be sung far more frequently in Hong Kong – in entirely disrespectful ways. And expect Hong Kong’s football fans to continue their long practice of booing it whenever it’s played. When you pass draconian laws like this, you don’t tend to get the outcome you expected.
Update: The South China Morning Post has some interviews with Hong Kong football fans here, saying they’ll continue ignoring it. “I won’t stand up [when the national anthem is played, because I do not have a sense of belonging [to China],” Ricky Wong Ka-ki told them.
If Ricky is locked up, China’s anthem overnight becomes the world’s most controversial song.