BEIJING, Oct. 31 (Xinhua) -- China's top legislature is considering amending the country's criminal law to include criminal penalties for disrespecting the national anthem.
A draft amendment was submitted for deliberation at the bi-monthly session of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, which started Monday.
Violators may face punishments of up to three years imprisonment, according to the draft.
The National Anthem Law, passed at a NPC Standing Committee session in September, came into force this month to ensure appropriate use of the song.
Those who maliciously modify the lyrics, or play or sing the national anthem in a distorted or disrespectful way in public, can be detained for up to 15 days, and even be held criminally liable, according to the law.
"As the criminal law stipulates penalties for offences to national flag and national emblem, violations regarding national anthem should also be incorporated with the passing of the new law," Wang Chaoying, deputy head of the NPC Standing Committee's Legislative Affairs Commission, said in a report to the session Tuesday.
According to the draft amendment, punishments for national flag and national emblem offences in public will also apply to acts of public disrespect to the national anthem. Punishment ranges from removal of political rights and public surveillance to criminal detention and imprisonment of up to three years.
China's national anthem "March of the Volunteers" has lyrics by poet Tian Han and music by Nie Er.
The song encouraged Chinese soldiers and civilians during the Chinese People's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression.
It was chosen as the national anthem in 1949.