Chinese call for law on national anthem

Source:Xinhua Published: 2017/5/11 10:57:52

Lawmakers are drafting a bill on the use of the national anthem, to ensure it is regarded as something sacrosanct that embodies the ideals it espouses.

The draft is expected to be submitted for its first reading in June, according to a plan released by the National People's Congress Standing Committee.

"It is imperative that we adopt laws on the national anthem," said Yu Hai, who in his role as the former head of the military band of the People's Liberation Army has performed the national anthem since 1970.

Some of the issues that need to be addressed are that there are various versions of the anthem and some people used it in ways that are deemed disrespectful.

"That is why a law is needed to protect the anthem," said Yu, who is also a national political advisor. SAFEGUARD SACREDNESS

The national anthem was revised in 1978, however, the previous version is still being used on occasion, even at some diplomatic events, Yu said.

In terms of the inappropriate use of the anthem, the anthem has been played at weddings and funerals.

"It has even been adapted and used as a jingle for an investment advertizement, with people frolicking about without any respect," Yu said.

China's national anthem "March of the Volunteers" was composed in 1935, with lyrics by poet Tian Han and music composed by Nie Er.

The song had greatly encouraged Chinese soldiers and people during the the war of resistance against Japanese invasion (1931-1945).

In September 1949, "March of the Volunteers" was chosen as the national anthem.

The song was broadcast across the world as late Chairman Mao Zedong declared the founding of People's Republic of China on Oct. 1, 1949. The song was reaffirmed as the national anthem in 1978.

To Yu, it epitomizes the indomitable spirit of the Chinese people, and the independence and unity of the country.

"The intensity of the composition evokes the spirit of the nation amid the flames of war, the sacrifices made by those who fell to build our country, and our pride to be citizens of new China," said Jiao Hongchang, professor of the Law School of the China University of Political Science and Law. IMPROVED LEGAL SYSTEM

China issued a regulation on the proper use of the national anthem in December 2014, banning the song from being performed or chanted at weddings and funerals or in commercial arenas.

The anthem may be played at the start of important celebrations or public political gatherings, formal diplomatic occasions, significant international gatherings.

"However, the regulation is not law. Since the anthem is named in the Constitution, legislators are obliged to standardize the use of the song and impose punishment on any actions that insult it," Jiao said.

Jiao illustrated how other countries protected the use of national anthems.

In Romania in 2011, a singer was fined for omitting a line from the national anthem before a soccer match. In Russia, insulting the anthem is a civil offense that involves a fine of up to 2,240 US dollars, he said. PUBLIC SUPPORT

China adopted laws covering its national flag in 1990 and national emblem in 1991.

"The anthem is a national symbol. As the voice of our country, it must be protected," Yu said.

"I heard someone using the national anthem as their cell phone ring tone. Such an act is comparable to blasphemy. We need a law to protect our anthem," wrote a netizen nicknamed "June and July" on Weibo, the micro blogging site.

"The law will help the public affirm their national identity. If we forget what defines us as a nation we risk losing who we are," read another post.

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