FILE: Hong Kong fans hold banners and character signs which read “Hong Kong is not China”, during the 2015 World Cup qualifying match between Hong Kong and China, in Hong Kong.
China’s parliament is considering criminal penalties for those who disrespect the national anthem, Reuters reported Monday, citing from state news agency Xinhua.
A draft amendment to the country’s Criminal Law was submitted for deliberation at a session of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee on Monday. Violators could face up to three years in prison, according to the draft.
China pbaded a new law in September mandating up to 15 days in police detention for those who mock the “March of the Volunteers,” which is China’s national anthem. The law also covers the Chinese territories of Hong Kong and Macau, Reuters reported.
It is not clear when the amendment would be voted on or take effect.
The report comes at a time when there is debate about NFL players in the U.S. who take a knee during the national anthem before football games. Some see the protest as disrespecting the flag, while others say the players are using their first amendment right to protest.
President Trump called on the football players to be fired or banned.
In Hong Kong, it’s the soccer fans protesting China’s national anthem. The territory’s football fans booed the anthem during a World Cup qualifier in 2015, which prompted FIFA to fine Hong Kong’s football badociation. Hong Kong residents have growing concern over China’s perceived encroachment on its autonomy, according to Reuters.