Disrespecting China’s national anthem will invite a 15-day jail term from next month after the Chinese parliament today passed a tough law criminalising the inappropriate use of the song. China’s national anthem – “March of the Volunteers” – will only be allowed at formal political gatherings, including the opening and closing of National People’s Congress (NPC) sessions, and other major official events such as diplomatic occasions, state-run Xinhua news agency reported. It will be illegal to use the national anthem during funerals, “inappropriate” private occasions, commercials or as background music in public places, according to the report. The law, to be implemented from October 1, says violators, including those who maliciously modify the lyrics or distort and disrespect the national anthem can be detained for up to 15 days or held criminally liable. The anthem must be included in textbooks for students at primary and secondary schools, and people are encouraged to sing it 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.” Reports previously said that 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. “March of the Volunteers” has lyrics by poet Tian Han and music composed by Nie Er.