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China considers three-year jail terms for disrespecting national anthem

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China considers three-year jail terms for disrespecting national anthem

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BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s largely rubber-stamp parliament is considering tougher penalties for those who disrespect the national anthem, including up to three years in jail, state news agency Xinhua said on Tuesday. In September, China passed a new law mandating up to 15 days in police detention for those who mock the “March of the Volunteers”, a law that also covers the Chinese territories of Hong Kong and Macau. Parliament is now looking at whether to amend the country’s Criminal Law to include criminal penalties for disrespect of the national anthem, Xinhua said. A draft amendment has been submitted for deliberation at a bi-monthly session of parliament’s standing committee, which started Monday, it added. “Violators in this regard may face punishments of up to three years of imprisonment, according to the draft.” It is not clear when the amendment could be passed. The earlier national anthem law has fuelled concern in Hong Kong, whose residents have grown nervous over China’s perceived encroachment of the city’s autonomy following such events as the disappearance of booksellers who later emerged in mainland Chinese custody. In 2015, Hong Kong football fans booed the Chinese anthem during a World Cup qualifier, prompting a fine for the territory’s football association from world body FIFA.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Michael Perry)
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