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Govt proposes changes to local national flag & emblem rules

2021-04-20 04:20     Comment:0

The Macau government announced yesterday that it has drafted a bill amending the local law on the use and protection of the national flag, national emblem and national anthem, after the new versions of the country’s National Flag Law and National Emblem Law – two of the several national laws that are applied in Macau – came into effect at the beginning of this year.

The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), passed amendments to the National Flag Law and National Emblem Law in October last year.

The local amendment bill must be passed by the Macau Legislative Assembly (AL) to take effect.

The local amendment bill which was announced yesterday proposes that anyone displaying the national flag upside down or hanging it upside down will face a fine of between 2,000 and 10,000 patacas, in addition to the current regulation according to which anyone displaying or using a damaged, defiled, faded or substandard national flag face the same fine.

The amendment bill also proposes that the national flag and national emblem are to be included in second and primary school education. The bill also proposes that the local government may request news media outlets to assist it in launching its promotional campaigns for the national flag and national emblem.

Secretary for Administration and Justice André Cheong Weng Chon made the announcement during a press conference at Government Headquarters yesterday.

He pointed out that the Executive Council, for which he is the spokesman, has finished discussing the government’s bill on amending local Law No. 5/1999 – which regulates the use and protection of the national flag, national emblem and national anthem. Cheong said that the government will submit the amendment bill to the Legislative Assembly for debate and vote in due course.

The Macau Basic Law’s Annex 3 lists the national laws, resolutions and regulations that are applied in the Macau Special Administrative Region (MSAR). According to the Macau Basic Law, national laws shall not be applied in the autonomous region, except for those listed in its Annex 3.

The National Flag Law and National Emblem Law have been applied in Macau since the establishment day of the Macau Special Administrative Region on December 20, 1999, when local Law No. 5/1999 came into force.

The country’s National Anthem Law, which was passed by the NPC Standing Committee in September 2017, took effect on October 1, 2017. The NPC Standing Committee passed a decision in November 2017 to include the National Anthem Law in the Macau Basic Law’s Annex 3 for it to be applied in Macau, after which the Macau government started drafting a bill amending local Law No. 5/1999 for the National Anthem Law to be applied in Macau. The local legislature passed the amendment bill in January 2019, before it took effect the next month.

Cheong pointed out yesterday that the NPC Standing Committee passed decisions to amend the National Flag Law and National Emblem Law in October last year. The new versions of the two laws took effect on January 1 this year. Cheong said that in order to ensure that the new versions of the two national laws will be correctly and effectively implemented in Macau, the local government has drafted a bill amending local Law No. 5/1999, in compliance with the principles, legislative spirit and rules of the National Flag Law and National Emblem Law.

‘Patriotic sentiment’

Article 9 of the National Flag Law stipulates that the state advocates for citizens and organisations to use the national flag and its design on appropriate occasions to express their patriotic sentiment, while Article 10 of the National Emblem Law states that citizens may wear badges with the national emblem on solemn occasions to express their patriotic sentiment. The local amendment bill announced by Cheong yesterday makes proposals in line with the two articles.

According to Cheong, the local amendment bill proposes that the Macau government should advocate for residents to use the national flag to express their patriotic sentiment. The local amendment bill also “clearly” states that residents may wear badges with the national emblem on solemn occasions to express patriotic sentiment.

The Executive Council is the government’s top advisory body.


Pedestrians walk past Government Headquarters with the national flag raised yesterday. Photo: Tony Wong

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