Hong Kong lawmakers are set to consider a bill that would make disrespecting China’s national anthem a crime.
The bill, expected to be introduced to the Legislative Council Wednesday, recommends a three-year prison sentence and a $6,373 fine for anyone found publicly and intentionally disrespecting the anthem "March of the Volunteers."
The bill will also make it mandatory for schoolchildren to learn the anthem, including those enrolled in international schools.
The bill has raised concerns, with some saying it is just one more way Beijing is trying to exert its influence on the former British colony, and flouts the “one country, two systems” framework that was set up to protect its judiciary and freedom of expression after British rule ended in 1997.
In recent years, booing the national anthem has become a popular means of protest at sporting events on the island.
China adopted a similar law in 2017 and it is also being considered in Macau, which is also a Chinese special administrative region.
The bill is expected to come to vote in the Legislative Council and easily pass before summer.