The draft law on China's national anthem, the March of the Volunteers, was submitted to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, China's top legislative body, for its first reading on June 22. The draft law has specific regulations on seven situations when the national anthem should be played, such as at important sporting and diplomatic events.
A national anthem reflects a nation's spirit and ethos. For several decades, the patriotism reflected in China’s national anthem has encouraged the Chinese people to move ahead.
However, disrespect for the national anthem is also prevalent. For instance, it is used in advertisements, with its speed changed; it is used for mobile phone ringtones; and even more intolerably, it's played at wedding ceremonies and funerals. These practices have resulted from a lack of respect for the national anthem. The logic of those who misuse the national anthem is that as long as the law doesn't stipulate how to use it, they can do whatever they want with it.
National anthems symbolize nations, and a country that doesn't respect its national anthem will be without hope. The State Council has issued a guideline on regulating the playing of China’s national anthem. However, as the guideline is not law, it plays a limited role in safeguarding the dignity of the national anthem.
As a matter of fact, many countries have enacted laws to guarantee respect for their national anthem.
Hopefully the law on China’s national anthem will enable people to realize that it is as solemn and inviolable as the nation itself and the national emblem.
(This is an edited excerpt of an article published in Legal Daily on June 23)