China – Hong Kong football fans booed the Chinese national anthem and held signs opposing government plans to allow extraditions to the mainland at a home match against Taiwan on Tuesday night.
The latest protests have been sparked by a proposal to allow criminals to be rendered to China for the first time.
Footage posted on social media from Hong Kong’s 0-2 defeat by Taiwan on Tuesday night showed fans booing loudly as China’s “March of the Volunteers” anthem was played.
Fans have booed the national anthem for years but it has become much more commonplace ever since huge pro-democracy protests in 2014 failed to win any concessions from Beijing.
China bristles at any disrespect of its anthem and has fine-tuned legislation on the proper way and place to sing the anthem, tightening rules that already bar people from performing it at parties, weddings and funerals.
Earlier this year Hong Kong unveiled a proposed law that would punish anyone who disrespects the Chinese national anthem with up to three years in jail.
A draft bill showed that the city planned to copy the mainland by bringing in a maximum three year prison sentence for “serious” cases of disrespect towards the national anthem.
The draft outlaws playing the anthem “in a distorted or disrespectful way, with intent to insult”. It also forbids altering the anthem’s lyrics and its score. As well as possible jail time, offenders will also face fines of up to HK$50,000 (around $6,000).
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