The draft amendment to existing legislation states that the anthem will only be allowed at formal political gatherings, including National People's Congress (NPC) meetings, flag raising ceremonies, award ceremonies, constitutional oath ceremonies, commemorations, national events, diplomatic occasions, sports events and other occasions the government deems suitable, Reuters reported.
It will be illegal to play the anthem during funerals, commercials, unsuitable private events and as background music in public places, according to Xinhua. Intentionally changing the lyrics or tune of "March of the Volunteers" — China's national anthem — will also be considered disrespecting the anthem. In addition, those who desecrate the national flag or emblem will also be punished. Violators of the law may face up to three years in prison.
In September a new law was passed that stipulates a 15-day jail stay for mocking the national anthem. This law also applies to the Chinese territories of Hong Kong and Macau. However, if the new draft legislation is approved by Parliament, disrespecting the anthem or the flag, which was also previously punishable by 15 days in police detention, could now earn violators up to three years' detention.
In 2015, Hong Kong fans booed the Chinese anthem during a world cup game between Hong Kong and Laos.
"In recent years, incidents of disrespecting the national anthem had occurred in Hong Kong, challenging the bottom line of the principle ‘one country, two systems' and social morality and triggering rage among Chinese, including most Hong Kong residents," Zhang Rongshun, deputy head of the Parliament's Legislative Affairs Commission, said, according to Xinhua.
"It is urgent and important to apply the national anthem law in Hong Kong, in a bid to prevent and handle such offenses," Rongshun added