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Proposed Law Standardizes Use of National Anthem

Professor Wang Jing defends law to regulate playing of national anthem.

By Zhang Qingchen Updated Jun.19

Chinese lawmakers are drafting a bill on the use of the national anthem in order to ensure its sacred status. "March of the Volunteers," originally composed as a film score in the 1930s by Nie Er, with lyrics by the playwright Tian Han, was first used as the national anthem in 1949, before falling out of favor and being replaced by "The East is Red," during the Cultural Revolution when Tian Han was imprisoned as a "counter-revolutionary." Tian died in prison in 1968, but the anthem was restored to official status in 1982, but its role has never been formalized by law.

The draft will be submitted for a first reading in June, according to the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee. Wang Jing, a professor at Chinese Academy of Governance, discussed the significance of the law with the news portal www.gmw.cn.   

Wang responded to criticism that the law was unnecessary and an example of the tendency of "one thing, one law," arguing that the standardization of the national anthem connects the basic framework of the Chinese law and constitution together. Although few countries pass such legislation, Wang said, those that do strictly regulate the proper use of the national anthem, banning it from being performed at events without a political function. This would be a good model to educate young people in the purpose of the law, Wang argued.