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Hong Kong Criminalizes ‘Disrespect’ For Chinese National Anthem

The Hong Kong government has passed legislation that would jail and fine citizens who disrespect the Chinese national anthem.

A Hong Kong citizen who breaks the law and disrespects the anthem would serve a sentence of up to 3 years in jail and would be fined HK$50,000, Reuters reports.

The legislation comes amidst increasing tensions in the city-state between pro-democracy citizens and the Chinese government, which continues to assert control over the Hong Kong government.

Thursday marked the 31st anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre. Hong Kong police banned the annual vigil which commemorated the massacre citing COVID-19 regulations. However, organizers of the vigil accused the police of trying to silence them. However, many Hong Kong citizens still attended a vigil in defiance of the police.

Two weeks ago China passed the draft of a security law which would curb Hong Kong citizens’ freedoms. The law criminalizes any act that undermines the authority of China’s central government, BBC reports.

Tensions in Hong Kong ramped up last year after Beijing passed an extradition law enabling the government to extradite Hong Kongers to mainland China. In response to the bill, hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong citizens participated in mass protests, which were some of the largest in Hong Kong history, according to The New York Times.

Meanwhile, western nations are grappling with how to respond to China’s encroachment on Hong Kong’s sovereignty. U.S. Department of State Secretary Mike Pompeo declared last week that Hong Kong was no longer autonomous from China and the U.K. threatened yesterday to change immigration rules, giving millions of Hong Kong citizens a pathway to British citizenship.

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