Wed, May 10, 2017 - Page 5 News List

China wants its anthem sung, but not at parties

AFP, BEIJING

China is fine-tuning legislation on the proper way and place to sing its national anthem, tightening rules that already bar people from belting it out at parties, weddings and funerals.

A draft bill is being prepared out of concern that the patriotic ballad is “not universally respected and cherished,” state media reported yesterday.

“Due to a lack of legal constraints, the national anthem is casually used and sung in an unsolemn manner,” Xinhua news agency said.

China already has laws covering the use of its national flag and national emblem, but none for its anthem, March of the Volunteers, aside from a ban on use in advertisements.

Written in 1935 and officially adopted in 1982, the buoyant, military-minded score calls on the Chinese people to “arise” and “march on” toward the establishment of a new nation.

The drafted legislation is to stipulate the tempo at which the song should be played, in which circumstances and moods, and the legal consequences of placing the anthem in a “damaging situation.”

It follows regulations on national anthem etiquette that were announced in 2014 to “enhance the song’s role in cultivating socialist core values.”

The regulations allow the song to be used only during formal diplomatic occasions, major sporting events and international gatherings — making the anthem off-limits at weddings, funerals and various forms of “private entertainment.”

Xinhua said the March of the Volunteers was originally a battle song encouraging the nation’s children to fight courageously against invaders.

In recent years, the use of the anthem has fallen into “chaos,” Xinhua said, with some people laughing or making a ruckus during the song.

The bill is expected to be submitted for its first reading next month.

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