'No arrests for failing to stand for anthem' - RTHK
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'No arrests for failing to stand for anthem'

2017-11-05 HKT 11:03
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  • 'No arrests for failing to stand for anthem'
A local delegate to the mainland's legislature, Fanny Law, said the Hong Kong government will not arrest people who refuse to stand for the national anthem, after relevant laws are introduced in the SAR.

Her comments contradict those of another Hong Kong delegate to the National People's Congress, Ip Kwok-him, who said on Saturday that people may be in violation of the law if they don't stand solemnly.

Law said on a Commercial Radio programme on Sunday that people shouldn't think of the issue in an "extreme" manner, or complicate a simple matter.

She said people must respect anthems everywhere in the world, noting that United States President Donald Trump has been criticising American football players for kneeling to protest during the playing of the US national anthem.

The executive councillor was speaking a day after Beijing approved putting the controversial national anthem law in an annex of the Basic Law.

Business and Professionals Alliance lawmaker Priscilla Leung, meanwhile, has hinted that future legislation on the national anthem in Hong Kong may have retrospective effect under civil procedures.

Speaking at RTHK's City Forum on Sunday, Leung said all newly enacted criminal laws in the mainland and Hong Kong do not have retrospective powers.

But she said once an anthem law is passed here, local event organisers may face civil, rather than criminal liability - if their participants showed disrespect for the national anthem - even before the law went into effect.

Democratic Party legislator Ted Hui said on Sunday that he thought such a law would be difficult to enforce in big crowds.

"How can you really identify every single protester or participant in a football match?" Hui said. "I think it's totally unenforceable."

The Hong Kong government has offered no timetable yet as to when local legislation on the national anthem might be enacted.