National flags to fly in more HK venues as amendments to national flag and emblem laws apply to SAR
Published: Aug 10, 2020 10:41 AM

Photo: VCG

Chinese lawmakers backed the amendment to the National Flag Law and the National Emblem Law at an ongoing session of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, with the aim of fostering a stronger atmosphere of patriotism in society.

Legislators and experts reached by the Global Times said the amendments, if endorsed by the NPC, also suit the Hong Kong Special Autonomous Region and Macao Special Autonomous Region in accordance with laws, but the provisions may not necessarily be the same, as a local version of laws will be made.

The draft amendment of National Flag Law requires that Chinese national flags be flown in more places, including compounds of Party and state organs, schools and public cultural facilities, and encourages the public to express their patriotism using the national flag and national emblem.

Tam Yiu-chung, a member of the Standing Committee of the 13th NPC, told the Global Times on Monday that the National Flag Law and the National Emblem Law are within Annex 3 of the Basic Law, which means Hong Kong will make relevant adjustment once the amendments are passed by the NPC, but detailed provisions will be submitted to the Hong Kong Legislative Council and localized. 

"This represents the spirit of 'One Country, Two Systems'," Tam said.

Applying national laws in the Hong Kong SAR within Annex 3 of the Basic Law is a decision that must be made very "cautiously." Only laws that represent the will of the nation are included in Annex 3, such as the National Security Law for Hong Kong, Jiang Shigong, a law professor at Peking University, told the Global Times. 

The National Flag Law and the National Emblem Law would address the acts of defacing or trampling on the national flag or diminishing the dignity of national flags. Such acts were seen in Hong Kong during the unrest last year, Jiang said. 

According to the draft, anyone who deliberately burns, damages, defaces, defiles, tramples on or insults the national flag or national emblem in public will be investigated for criminal responsibilities, with minor violations resulting in 15 days of detainment.

According to the draft, in addition to governments, legislatures, courts, procuratorates and other organs, committees of the Communist Party of China, Party disciplinary organs and supervisory commissions at all levels must hoist the national flag daily or on working days. Non-Communist parties and people's organizations must hoist the national flag on working days.

The draft encourages public cultural facilities including libraries, museums and art galleries to display the national flag on opening days. 

The law also stipulates that schools should adopt national flag education as an important part of patriotic education, educate students on the history and spiritual connotation of the national flag, and observe the rules for the use of the national flag and the etiquette of the national flag-raising ceremony.

Stipulating national flag education in legal form and making it an important part of students' learning has a positive role in promoting students' patriotic awareness, said Tam said during the discussion on Sunday, the Xinhua News Agency reported.