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Government vows to ‘localise’ national anthem law

The government will draft related local legislation as the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC) on Saturday passed decisions to include the National Anthem Law in the Macau Basic Law’s Annex 3, the Secretariat for Administration and Justice said in a statement on Saturday.

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UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:48 am

The government will draft related local legislation as the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC) on Saturday passed decisions to include the National Anthem Law in the Macau Basic Law’s Annex 3, the Secretariat for Administration and Justice said in a statement on Saturday.

The NPC Standing Committee in Beijing on Saturday adopted 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 decisions, 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 list the national laws, resolutions and regulations to be applied in the two regions.

The statement said that the local government will start the legislative process for drafting related local legislation for the National Anthem Law to be applied in Macau. The statement did not say when the legislative process will commence.

The government will draft the legislation in strict compliance with the spirit and legislative intent of the National Anthem Law, as well as by taking into account the situation in Macau, in order to ensure the effective implementation and correct application of the National Anthem Law in Macau, the statement said.

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.

Meanwhile, Legislative Assembly (AL) President Ho Iat Seng, Macau’s only member of the NPC Standing Committee, has told government-owned broadcaster TDM that the local government will only need to draft an amendment bill to an existing local law following the National Anthem Law being included in Annex 3 of the Macau Basic Law.

According to the Macau Post Daily Ho made the remarks in a phone interview with TDM’s Chinese-language radio channel on Saturday when he was in Beijing.

Ho said that Macau’s legislature passed a law on the use and protection of the national anthem on the day of the establishment of the Macau Special Administrative Region (MSAR) on December 20, 1999 and that the law has been in force since then.

Currently 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 No. 5/1999, which regulates the use and protection 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.

According to Article 9 (1) 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.

According to Article 9 (2.2), the act of maliciously not following the score or modifying the lyrics when playing the national anthem constitutes disrespect to the national anthem.

Ho noted on Saturday that the punishments for disrespect to the national anthem listed in the existing local law are in line with the punishments in the mainland.

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:48 am

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