China to ensure all in tune on anthem

China has laws covering the use of its national flag and national emblem.
China has laws covering the use of its national flag and national emblem.PHOTO: EPA

BEIJING • China is fine-tuning legislation on the proper way and place to sing its national anthem, tightening rules that already bar people from belting it out at parties, weddings and funerals.

A draft Bill is being prepared because of concern that the patriotic ballad is "not universally respected and cherished", state media reported yesterday.

"Due to a lack of legal constraints, the national anthem is casually used and sung in an unsolemn manner," said Xinhua news agency.

China already has laws covering the use of its national flag and national emblem, but none for its anthem, March of the Volunteers, aside from an advertising ban.

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Written in 1935 before the Communist Party took power and officially adopted in 1982, the buoyant, military-minded score calls on the Chinese people to "arise" and "march on" towards the establishment of a new nation.

The draft legislation will stipulate in which circumstances and moods the song should be played, its tempo, as well as the legal consequences of playing it in a "damaging situation". Current rules allow the national anthem to be played only during formal diplomatic occasions, major sporting events and international gatherings.

Netizens on China's social media platform Weibo expressed their support for the nascent anthem law. "I've been waiting for this," wrote one commentator. "People are always singing the national anthem for fun, as if it's a regular song. I will take the lead in reporting... this bunch of trash, who don't even have respect for their homeland!"

The Bill is expected to be submitted for its first reading in June.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 10, 2017, with the headline 'China to ensure all in tune on anthem'. Print Edition | Subscribe