National anthem law takes effect in Hong Kong

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The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government announced on Friday that the National Anthem Ordinance has been published in the Gazette and came into effect Friday.

A government spokesperson said in a statement that the core legislative principle is to promote respect for the national anthem, which is the symbol and sign of the country, and provide guidance on the standard, etiquette, and occasions for playing and singing of the national anthem.

The law prohibits and imposes penalties on the misuse of the national anthem and public acts with an intent to insult the national anthem, the spokesperson said, noting that there is no cause for concern of breaching the law inadvertently.

The HKSAR government will strengthen the publicity and educational efforts of the national anthem and has set up a dedicated webpage to inform the public about the law and provide the standard scores and official recordings of the national anthem, the spokesperson said.

The Education Bureau will update its teaching materials to educate students on the history and spirit of the national anthem and the etiquette for playing and singing the national anthem.

China’s National Anthem Law came into force in 2017 and then the Standing Committee of the 12th National People’s Congress adopted the decision to add the law to Annex III to the HKSAR Basic Law.

In accordance with Article 18 of the Basic Law, the national laws listed in Annex III to the Basic Law shall be applied locally by way of promulgation or legislation by the HKSAR.

Hong Kong’s Legislative Council passed the National Anthem Bill earlier in June.

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