National anthem protests? In China, they just became illegal. – China’s latest society and culture news

Society & Culture

A summary of the top news in Chinese society and culture for October 2, 2017. Part of the daily SupChina newsletter, a convenient package of China’s business, political, and cultural news delivered to your inbox for free. Subscribe here.

“I fully support this decision. Just look at what happened in the U.S. It’s imperative to reinforce the patriotic education of Chinese citizens.”

“To safeguard the national anthem’s dignity, it should only be played on important occasions. This order is, in fact, dampening people’s respect for the national anthem.”

While Trump repeated his call for punitive action against NFL players who knelt during the American national anthem, China’s new law that makes disrespecting the country’s national anthem a criminal offense came into effect on October 1, 2017 — the 68th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

The new legislation has triggered a divide in public opinion (in Chinese) on Chinese social media. First proposed in June and eventually passed in September, China’s national anthem law (in Chinese) is intended to “preserve the dignity of the national anthem,” “regulate the play, broadcast, and use of the song,” and “enhance the citizens’ concept of being part of a nation.” The legislation makes it illegal to play the national anthem, called the March of the Volunteers, on “inappropriate” occasions such as funerals or to use it as background music in advertising. The law requires people to stand solemnly and behave in a good manner during the anthem.

The government also ruled that primary and middle schools in China should treat the national anthem as an essential part of patriotic education, teaching students to learn the history of the anthem and to sing the song properly. The law also stipulates that those who “maliciously alter the lyrics in public or play and sing the national anthem in a disrespectful way” will face up to 15 days of detention. Moreover, if a crime is constituted, they will be prosecuted for criminal liability.

The new law also orders radio and television stations to broadcast the national anthem during important holidays. On September 30, one day before the new law came into effect, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT), China’s top media regulator, issued a notice that requires all central and local TV or radio stations to broadcast the Chinese national anthem at 10 a.m. Beijing time during all national holidays and festivals, such as National Day on October 1 and Labor Day on May 1.