Hong Kong, September 29 (ANI): Lawmakers in Hong Kong have passed a bill that outlaws the desecration of the Chinese national flag and national emblem on the internet.
This comes amid an ongoing crackdown on dissent by the pro-China Hong Kong government.
Amendments to the National Flag and National Emblem Ordinance were passed in the Legislative Council on Wednesday with full support from pro-establishment legislators, Hong Kong Free Press reported.
The new law aims to ensure the proper use of, and "preserve the dignity" of, the national flag and national emblem, as well as boosting a sense of national identity among Hongkongers and promoting patriotism.
Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Erick Tsang said the authorities made reference to the National Anthem Law and included "clearer provisions" on offences linked to insulting the national flag and emblem.
"As long as citizens have no intention of insulting the national flag and national emblem, there is no need to worry," Tsang said.
Under the new law, a national flag or a national emblem must not be displayed upside down or used in any way that the authorities deem as "undermining the dignity" of the flag and emblem. It retained the same penalties for people who "publicly and intentionally desecrating" the national flag or emblem.
They could face a maximum fine of HK$50,000 and three years behind bars for burning, mutilating, scrawling on defiling or trampling the national flag and the national emblem, and for publishing such acts.
As China has strengthened control over Hong Kong through varieties of laws including the draconian National Security Law, the people of the semi-autonomous city are facing increasing policing and crackdown.
The law criminalises any act of secession (breaking away from China), subversion (undermining the power or authority of the central government), terrorism and collusion with foreign forces, with punishments of up to life in prison. (ANI)