Date
17 November 2017
Once the proposal is passed by the NPCSC, Hong Kong is expected to legislate its version of the national anthem law and implement it sooner than later. Photo: Reuters
Once the proposal is passed by the NPCSC, Hong Kong is expected to legislate its version of the national anthem law and implement it sooner than later. Photo: Reuters

NPCSC set to pass proposal on national anthem law in HK

A proposal to apply China’s new national anthem law in Hong Kong is set to be passed by the National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC) on Saturday, the last day of its current session, according to Ip Kwok-him, a Hong Kong delegate to the congress.

Mainland authorities have proposed that the new law, which took effect on Oct. 1 in the mainland, be included in Hong Kong’s Basic Law.

Once the proposal is passed, Hong Kong is expected to legislate its version of the law and implement it sooner than later.

The law aims to punish anyone who shows disrespect to the national anthem or misuses or mocks the song. But whether it should have a retroactive effect should be decided by the Hong Kong government on its own, Ip said.

He said related penalties should take reference from the National Flag and National Emblem Ordinance, adding that the law should also be included in the curriculum of primary and secondary schools.

Fanny Law Fan Chiu-fun, another Hong Kong delegate to the congress, said she does not think it is necessary to make the law retroactive.

In a Legislative Council session on Wednesday, Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Patrick Nip Tak-kuen said Hong Kong should begin preparing local legislation of the law soon after it is included in the Basic Law.

Legislation of the new law will be done according to Hong Kong’s constitution and law. The local legislation will be made in accordance with Article 12 of the Hong Kong Bill of Rights, which states no retrospective criminal offences or penalties, Nip said.

Also, he said the Education Bureau is ready to review teaching resources so as to ensure every student understands the importance of respecting the national anthem. 

Nip said the government will come up with a draft through internal discussions before seeking the opinions of the public and Legco.

He said lawmakers will be given sufficient time to discuss the details.

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TL/JC/RA

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