New national anthem laws in Hong Kong will see students and schools punished for disrespecting, or not singing along to China’s national anthem. The bill also called for severe punishment for those found disrespecting the national anthem, with a jail term of up to three years and HK$50,000 fine.
A new law that was passed on June 12 in Hongkong is calling for punishment of students and teachers who disrespects the Chinese national anthem. The law also included clauses that called for the introduction of national anthems in the school curriculum.
Punishment for national anthem laws
The law calls for anyone found disrespecting or insulting the national anthem to be jailed for three years. It also calls for fines of up to HK$50,000 for those found guilty of violating the national anthem law. The law also called for a compulsory playing of the national anthem during three Hong Kong holidays in all schools across the country. These holidays are; New Year’s Day, the anniversary of the city’s return to China on July 1, and National Day on October 1.
The law has raised eyebrows to teachers, students and parents in the country who expressed fear on how the law would be applied. They worried that the law might be used to silence critics of the government and hinder the freedom of speech currently enjoyed in the country.
Although the schools are not open during the said holidays, they hold events during the eve of the holidays. Teachers and schools were instructed to be on the lookout during these events, and if they notice any form disrespect towards the national anthem and the flag, they should contact the police.
Respecting Chinese flag
The law also required schools to ensure that the Chinese flag is raised, side to side with the Hong Kong flag. During the national anthem, students were also required to sing along with utmost respect to the flag and the national anthem.
For more than a year, the country has plunged into protests after an extradition bill was introduced into the country. The bill, if passed, would have required people arrested in Hong Kong to be extradited to China to face Justice.
In May, national security laws were passed in Hong Kong, that many experts said they would hinder the free speech in the autonomous city. The laws were also criticized by experts, who said they would be used as a way to quash protests in the city.
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