Hong Kong Outlaws Insulting China’s National Anthem

Pan-democratic legislator Andrew Wan reacts next to a flower and placards reading “Always remember the 4th of June, the hearts of the people will never die” after he observed one minute of silence for the 31st anniversary of Tiananmen crackdown before a Legislative Council meeting to debate national anthem bill in Hong Kong, Thursday, June 4. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

Hong Kong’s legislature approved a contentious bill Thursday that makes it illegal to insult the Chinese national anthem.

The legislation was approved after pro-democracy opposition lawmakers tried to disrupt the vote. They see it as an infringement on freedom of expression and the greater rights that residents of the semi-autonomous city have compared to mainland China.

The pro-Beijing majority said the law was necessary for Hong Kong citizens to show appropriate respect for the anthem. Those found guilty of intentionally abusing the “March of the Volunteers” face up to three years in prison and fines of up to 50,000 Hong Kong dollars ($6,450).