The Chinese government is planning to amend its public security law, potentially leading to convictions for comments, clothing, and symbols deemed to “infringe upon” or have the potential to “harm the national spirit.”
Chinese citizens have shown sensitivity to various issues, and the Communist Party aims to tackle anything that could “hurt national sentiments.” This draft law is currently undergoing public consultation on the National People’s Congress website and has sparked numerous reactions on social media.
Legal experts, in particular, are concerned about the risks of “arbitrary abuses” due to the ambiguity of certain clauses. The proposed law seeks to criminalize anything that could harm the “national sentiment” or the “national spirit,” both vague and all-encompassing notions, according to experts and bloggers who express their concerns about censorship.
Who will determine what belongs to the “spirit of the Chinese nation”? And through what procedure? Tong Zhiwei, a constitutional law specialist at the East China University of Political Science and Law, asked this on his Weibo account, as reported by Reuters.
Last year, a Chinese woman wearing a kimono in public was arrested by the police, who, like censors, sometimes have uncertain tastes in trends.
A few days ago, Chinese individuals wearing clothing from the Tang Dynasty were denied entry to a park in the city of Wuhan. Local guards confused their parasols and silks with Japanese toilets which could potentially offend the “national spirit.”
This proposed law follows measures against “historical revisionism,” which led to the arrest of internet users, and aligns with the discourse of “regaining cultural confidence,” championed by the Chinese president.