BEIJING, China (Global Times) — China decided to amend the National Flag Law and the National Emblem Law on Saturday to further prohibit acts that impair the dignity of the national flag and the national emblem.
The amendment, which will take effect on 1 January 2021, was approved by the 22nd session of the Standing Committee of the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC).
The amendment specifies that the national flag shall not be hung upside down, stuck upside down, or displayed or used in any other manner detrimental to the dignity of the national flag. The national flag shall not be arbitrarily discarded.
According to the new law, those who intentionally insult the national flag or national emblem by burning, mutilating, painting, defacing, or trampling them in public places shall be prosecuted for criminal responsibility.
For less serious cases, the offender will be detained for no more than 15 days by a public security organ.
The new law is believed to be a deterrent to those who desecrated the national flag and emblem during the anti-extradition bill protests in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) in 2019.
Rioters who removed a Chinese national flag from a flagpole at Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbor and tossed it into the Harbor during a protest in August 2019 — a move that tarnished the country’s dignity — were strongly condemned by the HKSAR government and the Chinese people.
The amendment also expands the scope for displaying the national flag and emblem. For instance, it stipulates official institutions of the Central People’s Government in the HKSAR and Macao Special Administrative Region shall display the national flag and the national emblem on weekdays.