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Global Times

Hong Kong LegCo adopts bill requiring use of national flag and emblem on local govt organ websites

Global Times

By Global Times Published: Sep 29, 2021 07:54 PM

The Legislative Council (LegCo) of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) passed the National Flag and National Emblem (Amendment) Bill 2021 on Wednesday at a third reading, requiring the HKSAR government, the LegCo and the Judiciary to use the national emblem design on the home page of their websites.

"The principle of the legislative amendments," the bill read, "is to safeguard the proper use and preserve the dignity of the national flag and the national emblem, which are the symbols and signs of our country, so as to promote respect for the national flag and emblem, enhance the sense of national identity among citizens and promote patriotism, while taking into account our common law system and the actual circumstances in Hong Kong," according to the LegCo website.

Apart from stipulating that organizations must use the national emblem design in a prominent position on their websites, the bill also laid out rules for the recovery and disposal of the flags and emblems, requiring that any damaged, defiled, faded or substandard national flags and emblems must be returned to designated collection points for central handling by the SAR government.

The bill says that national flags or emblems must not be displayed upside down or discarded at will, and must not be displayed or used in any way that undermines their dignity.

At the second reading of the bill, Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Erick Tsang Kwok-wai pointed out that the fundamental spirit of the bill is respect for the national flag and emblem as a national symbol, and the bill contains criminal liabilities and penalties for those who insult the symbol.

Chinese lawmakers backed the amendment to the National Flag Law and the National Emblem Law at this year's session of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee in August, with the aim of fostering a stronger atmosphere of patriotism in society.

Cheng Chung-tai, a Hong Kong lawmaker who attracted public attention after he damaged China's national flag and the HKSAR's flag at the LegCo in 2016, was removed from the LegCo in late August after the vetting committee examined his qualifications and decided that he was not fit for the role, which requires candidates to pledge allegiance to Hong Kong. He was the first person to fail in the vetting process after the committee was established.

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