Hong Kong Basic Law

National anthem for all Hong Kong oath-taking is a welcome move

  • The proposal that the anthem be played when lawmakers and public officers are sworn into office deserves full support, as disrespect cannot be tolerated
PUBLISHED : Friday, 28 December, 2018, 7:39am
UPDATED : Thursday, 10 January, 2019, 2:45pm

A bill criminalising the abuse of the national anthem, which is due to be tabled at the Legislative Council next year, has recently been in the news. A new clause has been added, proposing that the March of the Volunteers be played during the swearing-in of Hong Kong lawmakers and major officials, such as the chief executive, Executive Council members, and judges (“National anthem to play before Hong Kong lawmakers swear in to legislature”, December 14).

The oath-taking of public officials and people’s representatives signifies a solemn moment. The oath underlines their resolve to work for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China with faith and loyalty, as well as to uphold the Basic Law.

China is among a number of countries, including Singapore, Malaysia and Russia, to have a national anthem law. The US has a patriotic code of conduct relating to the national flag and the national anthem.

How do countries foster respect for their national anthem?

It so transpired that, during the swearing-in ceremony for the 2016 Legco, lawmakers-to-be engaged in playful and derogatory actions with relation to the oath. These deeds later led to their disqualification from the house and much resentment among the public. Perhaps in view of this, the government has proposed a fine of HK$50,000 (US$6,400) and three years in jail for anyone breaking the upcoming national anthem law.

Serving the Hong Kong public is an honourable job, and one has to show respect to the region and the nation by way of the oath and the anthem. This is the minimal requirement. Respect for the anthem and the oath of office is not a sign of being brainwashed.

I support the national anthem bill and the punitive measures for distorting the oath of office or other violations. I think the majority of the Hong Kong public would embrace it, too.

Randy Lee, Ma On Shan