China has passed legislation stipulating an up to three-year prison sentence for anyone found guilty of disrespecting the country’s national anthem, state media reported Saturday. “Serious cases of disrespecting the country's national anthem in public would get punishments including deprivation of political rights, criminal detention, and imprisonment of up to three years,” official Xinhua news agency reported, citing a law approved by the National People's Congress. No further details were given on what would be considered “serious disrespect” of the anthem, but the country already has rules in place prohibiting people from performing the song at weddings, parties, and funerals. Soccer fans in Hong Kong have been known to boo China’s national anthem at games, and pro-democracy activists fear the new anthem legislation could be used to crack down on freedom of speech in the semi-autonomous region.
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