China’s anthem tempo-tantrum

China

No clapping along. No talking. No answering the phone. You can’t sing it at weddings, nor at funerals. And soon, you won’t be able to sing China’s national anthem too fast – or too slow.

China’s appetite for citizen control is going one step further with a new bill that seeks to regulate the tempo at which ‘The March of the Volunteers’ has to be sung.

The bill stems from growing concern that the anthem is not universally respected and cherished.

‘Due to a lack of legal constraints, the national anthem is casually used and sung in an un-solemn manner,’ state-owned Xinhua News has claimed. State media also reported ‘chaos’ after someone laughed during the song.

The draft bill, which was due to be heard this month, includes sanctions for those who put the anthem in a ‘damaging situation’. This has led to speculation among Chinese internet users on social-media site Weibo that they may fall foul of the law if they cannot sing in tune or in tempo.

mag cover This article is from the July 2017 issue of New Internationalist.
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