Disabled, sick won't need to rise for anthem: govt - RTHK
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Disabled, sick won't need to rise for anthem: govt

2019-05-02 HKT 15:52
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  • Disabled, sick won't need to rise for anthem: govt
The government on Thursday sought to reassure the public that disabled people and those too sick to walk won't be expected to stand up when the national anthem is played at ceremonies and other events, and they won't face prosecution under planned new legislation.

Questions have been raised over how far people will have to go to show their respect for the "March of the Volunteers", with a new video produced by a pro-Beijing group showing an elderly woman struggling to rise from her wheelchair as the anthem is played.

Speaking at a bills committee meeting on the future legislation, the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Patrick Nip, said disabled people who don't stand up won't be regarded as having "insulted" the anthem, unless it was their deliberation intention to do so.

"In that clip, yes, it shows the respect paid by the old woman and that old woman stands up because she can, just to show her respect," Nip said.

"If someone is in a wheelchair and cannot stand up ... then it's not a problem when the anthem is played and they don't stand up. We will look at the objective facts of each case."

The slickly produced film shows a number of famous faces singing the anthem in Golden Bauhinia Square, including movie star Jackie Chan and prominent Hong Kong businessman Allan Zeman.

The video was made for the Committee of Youth Activities, which is also organising a ceremony on Saturday to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.

The group has asked uniformed groups taking part in the ceremony to change to a Chinese marching style rather than British.

While some of the 14 groups have agreed to the switch, some have refused, RTHK understands, saying this is because their members are not familiar with the Chinese way of marching.