Restaurant owner put in detention for hanging Chinese flag over kitchen door

Case in Qinghai province comes amid controversy in Hong Kong over legislation to punish people who disrespect the national anthem

PUBLISHED : Friday, 17 November, 2017, 2:51pm
UPDATED : Friday, 17 November, 2017, 3:47pm

A restaurant owner in northern China has been placed in detention for 15 days for disrespecting the national flag by using it as a partial door curtain, according to a news website report.

The owner, who was identified only by his family name Ma, used the flag to cover part of the door to the restaurant’s kitchen in Menyuan county in Qinghai province, reported on Friday.

The flag was supposed to be hung in the restaurant to mark an international cycling race at Qinghai Lake this summer, according to the article.

A customer posted a picture of the door on social media, arousing a lot of comment. Police saw the posting and launched an investigation.

Law criminalising insults to national anthem passed by China’s legislature, with detention for offenders

“According to the National Flag Law, we decided to detain Ma for 15 days for disrespecting the national flag after an investigation,” a notice from the police authority said last month.

People who wilfully burn, mutilate, scrawl on, defile or trample on the national flag are committing a criminal offence under Chinese law. Relatively minor offences are punishable by up to 15 days in detention.

China passed new legislation to “protect” the national anthem in September.

Punishments are laid out for those who make malicious revisions to the lyrics or carry out derogatory performances of China’s national anthem the March of the Volunteers.

Clashes over national anthem law at Hong Kong graduation ceremony

China’s legislature formally extended laws banning disrespect of the national anthem earlier this month to cover Hong Kong, a move that critics said undermined the Chinese-ruled city’s autonomy and freedoms.

Hong Kong’s government said it would adopt the law through the “appropriate local legislation”.

Football fans in Hong Kong have booed the national anthem during World Cup qualifiers and other matches, including at a game against Lebanon on Tuesday.