China passes amendments outlawing insulting national flag

HONG KONG (AP) — The Standing Committee of China’s congress on Saturday passed amendments to a law that will criminalize the intentional insulting of the national flag and emblem, after anti-government protesters in Hong Kong last year desecrated the Chinese flag.

According to the newly amended National Flag and National Emblem Law, which will take effect on Jan. 1, those who intentionally burn, mutilate, paint, deface or trample the flag and emblem in public will be investigated for criminal responsibility.

The law also states that that national flag must not be discarded, displayed upside down or used in any manner that impairs the dignity of the flag.

The revised law will also apply to offices in Hong Kong and Macao that are set up by the central government.

The amendments to the law were proposed after anti-government protesters in Hong Kong last year trampled on the Chinese flag, prompting an outcry in China. At least three protesters in Hong Kong were sentenced for desecrating the Chinese flag last year.

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