The first, highly symbolic, was the determination, under cover of COVID-19, to cancel the traditional vigil (discussed in The Situation in Hong Kong: The New Era Begins With the National Security Law and the Cancellation of the Tiananmen Vigil) traditionally held on 4 June.
The second was the approval on 3 June 2020 of the National Anthem Bill. "The law was passed with 41 votes for and one against. Those who were able to vote were largely from the pro-Beijing camp, as pro-democracy lawmakers were taking part in a noisy last-minute protest that meant they could not vote. “A murderous state stinks for ever,” they shouted." (Hong Kong protesters hold banned Tiananmen vigil as anthem law is passed).
During deliberations, Elizabeth Quat of the pro-Beijing DAB party said democrats should not be a public servant if they do not wish to respect the national anthem: “If lawmakers oppose the national anthem bill, they are violating basic political ethics.” Democratic Party lawmaker Wu Chi-wai said the public were concerned about arbitrary prosecution over the law: “Are we going to see more and more draconian laws and harsher penalties?” he asked. “We used to have more tolerance and respect for the government.
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At around 12:50 pm, democrats Eddie Chu and Ray Chan charged towards Leung holding protest placards reading “Murderous states stinks for eternity,” and a container of foul-smelling liquid was dropped on the floor.
The meeting was adjourned for several hours whilst police and fire service department personnel carried out an on-site investigation.
* * *Upon resumption in a separate room, Leung pressed on with the final vote without allowing remaining lawmakers to speak.
Ted Hui from the Democratic Party subsequently marched forward and spilt liquid on the floor before being removed by security. (Hong Kong passes law to criminalise insult of Chinese national anthem)
This post considers the passage of the National Anthem Bill (the text of which follows below) in the context of the transformation of Hong Kong as an international City, and the premises around which "One Country, Two Systems" will be interpreted going forward to its conclusion in 2047.
The Preamble is simple and direct--the national anthem as a symbol of the singular state, gives rise to both positive and negative obligations. The positive obligations are to sign the Anthem at appropriate occasions as directed now by statute. The negative obligations are to avoid acts of disrespect against the symbol that will now be taken as disrespect for the state.
Part 1 provides basic definitions of key terms, defining concepts such as “national anthem” and “national flag”.
Part 2 focuses on the playing and singing of the national anthem. It details anthem etiquette, and specifies the occasions when it is to be played. Lastly it imposes a principle of dignity" respecting both playing and singing.
Part 3 specifies the offenses for breaching the responsibilities set out in Part 2. It prohibits citizens from using the national anthem in certain settings, such as for commercial purposes, at private funerals, or as background music. It also bans citizens from insulting the national anthem in any way, such as altering its lyrics or singing it in a distorted way. Part 3 §7(2) provides the overarching offense: "A person commits an offence if the person publicly and intentionally insults the national anthem in any way." Part 3 §8 defines "insult ( 侮 辱 ), in relation to the national anthem, means to undermine the dignity of the national anthem as a symbol and sign of the People’s Republic of China." Provision is made for distinguishing the words and sounds of the Anthem from similar word grouoings and sounds.
Part 4 concerns the promotion of the national anthem. It directs that primary and secondary educations must incorporate the national anthem in their curriculum, including its singing, history and the etiquette regarding it. It also requires all sound and television broadcasters to play the national anthem when requested by the Communication Authority.
Part 5 provides the basis for treating the Hong Kong version of the National Anthem Law differently from the one otherwise applicable to the rest of the nation. It states that in case of inconsistencies between this ordinance and the Law of the People’s Republic of China on National Anthem adopted by the NPC, this ordinance should be applied.
Part 6 contains consequential amendments to other ordinances, for example adding passages regarding the use of national anthem to the Trade Marks Ordinance.
Schedule 1 sets out the lyrics and score of the national anthem in a stave notation.
Schedule 2 sets out the lyrics and score of the national anthem in a numbered musical notation.
The National Anthem Bill (國歌條例草案) is a comprehensive regulatory system for the observance of the primary gestures of sovereignty, order, and fidelity to the nation, and it follows, to the political-economic model under which it is organized. Its symbolic importance cannot be underestimated. It is passed within a context in which the Anthem itself has been a source of political challenge in Hong Kong especially after 2014 and the beginning of the last phase (in retrospect) of the internationalist movement in Hong Kong. "The anthem has been booed at football matches, where soccer fans have at times sang “Glory to Hong Kong”, a song that has become a rallying cry for the democracy movement in the city. " (Hong Kong passes China national anthem bill amid protests by democracy lawmakers). The anti-anthem protests appear to have arisen in the shadow of heightened feelings that emerged during the 2014 Umbrella Movement and the battle over the nature of representative government within the SAR. The anti-anthem protests appear to have arisen among heightened feelings that emerged during the 2014 Umbrella Movement and the battle over the nature of representative government within the SAR. It became visible during the 2015 World Cup Campaign.
Mr Sutcliffe [Hong Kong Football Association Chief Executive] traces the surge in tension to June, when the Chinese Football Association (CFA) issued a promotional poster ahead of the qualifier against Hong Kong. The poster shows images of three players and warns: "This team has players with black skin, yellow skin and white skin. Best to be on guard against such a multi-layered team!" Unsurprisingly, some Hong Kong fans derided the poster as racist. Following the controversy, the booing began during a qualifier against Bhutan, and continued until last weekend's friendly with Myanmar. Mr Sutcliffe believes it is the first time Fifa has fined a team for booing its own anthem, and he believes the booing will happen again. "We've been requesting that fans respect the anthem. That they behave, generally," he says. "But at the end of the day, it's very difficult when you have a crowd of 6,000 people, and there is an element in that crowd that wants to voice their opinion. It's very difficult to stop them."
The regulation is not unusual as to type, but its timing and its scope tends to emphasize the transformation of the understanding of Hong Kong within the organization of the Chinese State. More importantly, it is a strong gesture directed to the international community that Hong Kong's character as an international city has fundamentally changed. That change now produces a quite different manifestation of Hong Kong's global position. Hong Kong has now begun decisively to develop away from an identity marked by the autonomy of its political and civil model (and guaranteed by international instruments), to one marked by its position on China's Silk Roads as a purveyor of economic and financial services within the greater Pearl River City complex (and guaranteed by the Chinese constitutional order). To keep the Silk Road free of danger, that requires protection against the three evils of separatism, extremism, and terrorism, which has been an object of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the security arm of the Belt and Road Initiative (China’s war on the “Three Evil Forces”).
What does One Country, Two Systems mean in this context? It means principally that Hong Kong must be subject to national objectives, national priorities, and be faithful to core national principles that further the integrity of the state, and its political-economic model. Beneath that, local variation (substantial from the perspective fo the Central Authorities--and thus the Two Systems part of the principle) is permitted to takle local context into account, in this case including the common law traditions and organization of Hong Kong along with local culture. Sensitivity to this was already apparent in the 2018 version of the National Anthem Bill that included a chart showing the differences between the Mainland and the SAR versions of the Bill (here; "Our legislative principle is to maintain the purpose and intent of the National Anthem Law to fully reflect its spirit and to preserve the dignity of the national anthem, so that our citizens would respect the national anthem, whilst taking into account our common law system and the actual circumstances in Hong Kong." ¶5 2018 Legislative Bill).
These transformations continue to meet local resistance. That resistance crystallizes the old and now receding conceptualization of Hong Kong as an international city; the protestors use brilliantly the language of a conceptualization of Hong Kong, and the internationalist foundations of its law, based on the primacy of civil and political rights.
The bill is seen as an encroachment by Beijing on Hong Kong’s unique freedoms, like freedom of speech. “It is a restriction on personal liberties, freedom of expression,” Au Nok-hin, who served as a legislator from 2018 to 2019, tells TIME. Past moves by Chinese authorities perceived to be quashing freedoms have sparked huge demonstrations in Hong Kong. Thousands of protesters turned out on Sunday to march against a national security law, which China’s top lawmaking body announced last week it plans to implement for Hong Kong. Maya Wang, a China senior researcher at the rights group Human Rights Watch says the national anthem bill would be a “grim development” for Hong Kong. “Looking at this law and the upcoming national security legislation, there is an unmistakable trend towards the end of Hong Kong as a place where people can speak without fear,” she says. “It is a step towards greater and more comprehensive restrictions on freedom of expression that tracks with the trend overall in the rest of mainland China.”(Hong Kong’s National Anthem Bill Is Sparking Renewed Protests. Here’s What to Know).
Thousands flooded Hong Kong’s Victoria Park on Thursday night for the annual candlelight vigil to mark the anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, defying a ban on the mass gathering imposed by the police for the first time on health protection grounds. . . . Police, who had warned they had thousands of riot officers ready and would enforce anti-coronavirus rules limiting groups to a maximum of eight people each, stood back as the crowds poured into the park in Causeway Bay and took up a couple of soccer pitches. (Tiananmen vigil in Hong Kong draws thousands despite coronavirus-related ban).
There may also meet continued international reaction. One of the most intriguing is the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC) (Lawmakers Form Global Coalition to Tackle the China 'Challenge') an informal multilateral effort beneath the formal layers of government but deeply embedded within it. But it is likely that unless it plays a collateral role in the de-coupling of the Chinese and American post global trade empires, or plays into the domestic politics of Europe, there is little that will be done other than, as the UK (and Taiwan) indicated, will be the taking in of refugees.
Formal passage of the national anthem and national security laws will further strain relations with the US. Donald Trump has threatened to revoke economic and trading privileges Hong Kong enjoys on the basis that its wide-ranging autonomy has been undermined by Beijing. Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, on Wednesday met four former student leaders of the 1989 Beijing protests and asked how the US could “help China move towards democracy”, according to Wang Dan, a Tiananmen activist. Mr Wang has previously been barred from entering Hong Kong. (Hong Kong defies ban to mark Tiananmen Square crackdown)And that brings the global order back full circle to a post-global age whose characteristics sometimes mimic that of a time when global integration was viewed with a certain amount of terror.In the meantime, Western academics will continue to interpret the Sino-British Joint Declaration, perhaps in the hope that if they study it hard enough, the parties will be convinced that it is something worth considering going forward.
1. Short title
3. Standard for playing and singing
4. Etiquette for playing and singing
5. Occasions on which national anthem must be played and sung
6. Offence of misuse of national anthem
7. Offence of insulting behaviour
8. Music, words or score to be regarded as national anthem, or its lyrics or its score
9. Inclusion in primary and secondary education
10. Inclusion in sound broadcasting and domestic television programme services
Part 5 Supplementary Provisions
11. Application of laws of Hong Kong
Part 6 Consequential Amendments
Division 1—Enactments Amended
12. Enactments amended
Division 2—Amendments to Trade Marks Ordinance (Cap.
13. Section 11 amended (absolute grounds for refusal of registration)
Repeal the full stop Substitute a semicolon.
Add in alphabetical order
Division 3—Amendment to Legislation Publication Ordinance (Cap. 614)
14. Section 4 amended (contents of database)
Occasions on which National Anthem must be Played and Sung