Beijing, Oct 31: China's top legislature is considering tougher penalties for those who disrespect the national anthem with up to three-year jail term instead of the current 15-day detention, official media said on Tuesday. In September, China's rubber stamp parliament passed a national anthem law stipulating 15 day detention for anyone disrespecting the country's national anthem - "March of the Volunteers". A draft amendment was submitted for the lawmakers deliberation at the bi-monthly session of the National Peoples Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, which started on Monday. Violators in this regard may face punishments of up to three years of imprisonment, according to the draft, Xinhua news agency reported. The anthem will only be allowed at formal political gatherings, including the opening and closing of NPC sessions, constitutional oath ceremonies, flag raising ceremonies, major celebrations, award ceremonies, commemorations, national Memorial Day events, important diplomatic occasions, major sport events and other suitable occasions.
It will be illegal to use the national anthem during funerals, "inappropriate" private occasions, commercials or as background music in public places, the draft said. The previous law says that violators, including those who maliciously modify the lyrics or play/sing the national anthem in a distorted or disrespectful way, can be detained for up to 15 days or held criminally liable. The song must be included in textbooks for primary and secondary school students and people are encouraged to sing the national anthem on appropriate occasions to express patriotism.
China has already adopted laws covering its national flag in 1990 and national emblem in 1991. "The national anthem is different from other songs, it is the symbol of our country," said well-known music composer Jin Fuzai. "The law ensures people will be more serious when playing or singing the song."
Earlier reports said the national anthem should not be used in brand logos or advertisements, performed at funerals and other improper events or played as background music at public places, it said. Students in primary and middle school might have to learn the national anthem as the draft proposes to include the anthem into their texts books. China's national anthem is "March of the Volunteers," with lyrics by poet Tian Han and music composed by Nie Er.