Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor told Hong Kong people not to be too sensitive about the national anthem law, since it does not target the city specifically but will be applied all over the country.
Lam said there is no question that Hong Kong will enact the new law, which aims to punish those who show disrespect to the national anthem or misuses or mocks it, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Mainland authorities have proposed that the national anthem law, whose draft could be finalized in October and passed by parliament before the end of the year, must be included in Annex III of the Basic Law of Hong Kong, which lists applicable national laws, at the proper time.
Lam said Hong Kong has adopted legislation on the national flag and emblem without any trouble.
Hong Kong will have its own version of the new law considering that part of its content may not be fully implemented in the city, Lam said.
As such, the Legislative Council will begin to work on legislation soon after the draft is passed by the National People’s Congress Standing Committee.
Under the proposal, those who violate the law could face a warning or detention of up to 15 days. There may be criminal liability if a person is convicted.
Rao Geping, a member of the Basic Law Committee and a law professor at Peking University, said that although Hong Kong can legislate the national anthem law by itself, people should realize that freedom of speech and freedom of creation need to be legally binding.
Similar laws can be seen in many countries, Rao said, adding that the law is not particularly designed for Hong Kong.
In a radio program on Tuesday, lawmaker Dennis Kwok Wing-hang, who represents the legal sector, urged the government to conduct public consultations before local legislation work begins.
Lawmaker and Executive Council member Wong Kwok-kin said future law enforcement on people who disrespect the national anthem will not be easy and therefore clauses in the local version of the law must be clearly stipulated.
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