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Government to draft local legislation for national anthem law

Secretary for Administration and Justice Sonia Chan Hoi Fan said Wednesday that the Macau government will need to draft related local legislation after the National Anthem Law is included in the Macau Basic Law’s Annex 3 in the future.

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Secretary for Administration and Justice Sonia Chan Hoi Fan said Wednesday that the Macau government will need to draft related local legislation after the National Anthem Law is included in the Macau Basic Law’s Annex 3 in the future.

Chan made the remarks while speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the swearing-in ceremony of five newly-appointed public prosecutors.

The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC) in Beijing earlier this week heard draft decisions to apply the newly-adopted National Anthem Law both in Hong Kong and Macau, the nation’s two special administrative regions.

According to the bills, the National Anthem Law, which took effect on October 1, will be included in Annex 3 of the Hong Kong Basic Law and Annex 3 of the Macau Basic Law, which regulate the national laws, resolutions and regulations to be applied in the two regions.

The bills were submitted to the bi-monthly legislative session of the NPC Standing Committee, which opened on Monday.

According to the Basic Laws of Hong Kong and Macau, national laws shall not be applied in the two autonomous regions, except for those listed in Annex 3 of their respective Basic Laws.

Hong Kong is expected to implement the law by way of local legislation if the decision is adopted by the NPC.

Although the local law’s regulations related to the national anthem are in line with the principles of national law, Macau is expected to make improvements if the decision is adopted, Zhang Rongshun, deputy director of the Legislative Affairs Commission of the NPC Standing Committee, said during a meeting of the NPC Standing Committee on Tuesday.

According to the Macau Post Daily the Macau Basic Law’s Annex 3 lists a total of 11 national laws, resolutions and regulations which are in force in Macau, including the national flag law and national emblem law.

Annex 3 (1) of the Macau Basic Law refers to the “Resolution on the Capital, Calendar, National Anthem and National Flag of the People’s Republic of China”.

Local Law 5/1999, which regulates the use of national symbols in Macau, states that the nation’s symbols – the national flag, national emblem and national anthem – are to be respected and protected.

The law came into force on the establishment day of the Macau Special Administrative Region (MSAR) on December 20, 1999.

According to Article 9 of the law, blatant insults or disrespect to a national symbol (the national flag, national emblem and national anthem) are punishable by up to three years’ imprisonment.

Chan also said that after the National Anthem Law is added to Annex 3 of the Macau Basic Law, the local government will need to draft local legislation in order to formalise the implementation of the National Anthem Law in Macau.

According to Chan, the local legislation will be drafted in line with the local legal system as well as in line with the principles of national law. She noted that the government has started to study the matter, adding that she does not expect the local legislation process to be a difficult task.

According to Article 9 of Law 5/1999, the act of deliberately not following the lyrics and rhythm when playing the national anthem constitutes disrespect to the national anthem.

Chan said that the local piece of legislation on the matter will also include the listing of a number of fines and other penalties for violations, adding that the severity of the fines and punishments will be proposed in line with the local penal system.

Any changes to the current legislation on the matter will have to be submitted to the Legislative Assembly (AL) for debate and vote.

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