China’s top legislature on Saturday voted and passed an amendment to the country’s criminal law, which includes criminal penalties for disrespecting the national anthem.
The amendment was passed at the bimonthly session of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC).
According to the law, those who maliciously modify the lyrics, or play or sing the national anthem in a distorted or disrespectful way in public, if the violation is serious enough, may face imprisonment of up to three years, criminal detention, as well as deprivation of political rights.
The National Anthem Law was passed at a NPC Standing Committee session in September and came into effect on October 1.
According to the decisions, the National Anthem Law will be included in Annex III of the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) and Annex III in the Basic Law of the Macao SAR, which lists national laws to be applied in the two regions.
China’s national anthem “March of the Volunteers” has lyrics by poet Tian Han and music by Nie Er.
The song encouraged Chinese soldiers and civilians during the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against the Japanese Aggression.
It was chosen as the national anthem in 1949.