29 September (WNN) — Lawmakers in Hong Kong on Wednesday passed a bill that bans insults to the Chinese national flag on the Internet, and says lawbreakers could be jailed for up to three years.
The region’s Legislative Council passed amendments to an existing law that seeks to protect the Chinese flag and national emblem.
The change seeks to “preserve the dignity” of the national flag and enhance Hong Kong’s sense of national identity.
Under the change, people in Hong Kong are barred from “insulting” the flag and emblem online and in person. It also forbids them to be displayed upside down and states that neither can be defiled in public by burning, mutilating, defiling or trampling.
The change in law is partly the result of anti-government protests in 2019, during which protesters openly trampled and burned Chinese flags. China has ruled Hong Kong since it was freed from British control in 1997.
The bill also requires schools to display the flag, hold flag hoisting ceremonies every week, and teach students about the history of the flag.
“[The Education Bureau] Business and Professionals Alliance legislator Christopher Cheung told RTHK, “The bureau should ask schools that are not following its instructions and how to teach schools about the national flag and emblem to correct their practice.” A close watch should be kept on this.” Punish them accordingly.”
Violators of the new law face fines of up to $6,500 and could face up to three years in prison.