A proposed draft law in China has alarmed Chinese citizens and has caused great apprehensions. There is a growing concern that Chinese lawmakers are mulling bringing a law that would impose penalties and jail time for people who offend the government’s sensibilities by wearing the “wrong clothing”, Western media outlets reported.
Evidently, the Standing Committee of the nation’s legislature recently released a draft of revisions to the law that could prohibit a wide range of behaviour. These ‘unacceptable’ behaviours reportedly include dress or speech that could be “detrimental to the spirit of the Chinese people and hurt the feelings of the Chinese people.”
Interestingly, the lawmakers have not clearly spelt out exactly for what ‘offences’ people could be sent to a detention centre for up to 15 days or fined up to 5,000 yuan ($680). However, they have clearly listed the law among their priorities for this year.
Last year, the police officials in Suzhou which is a city near Shanghai, arrested a woman for wearing a kimono in public.
Notably, China has strained relations with Japan that stretch as far back as World War II. This recently worsened after Tokyo decided to release treated wastewater from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant into the ocean.
In the wake of this rivalry with Japan, Chinese authorities have also taken strict action against people who wear shirts with rainbows at concerts or distribute flags on a university campus that have the pro-LGBTQ symbol on them.
Reportedly, the flag episode against which Chinese authorities acted harshly occurred at the prestigious Tsinghua University, where two students were officially reprimanded.
According to Bloomberg News, many Chinese citizens expressed concerns on their social media platforms about the proposed changes to the law and have claimed that Chinese lawmakers may have gone “too far”.
One user who goes by the handle Nalan lang yueyueyue on Chinese social media site, Weibo asked how authorities would know when the nation’s feelings would be hurt.
The user asked, “Shouldn’t the spirit of the Chinese nation be strong and resilient?” and added, “Why can it be easily damaged by a costume?”
A man who identifies himself as a lawyer on Weibo, Du Zhaoyong said that the law would “definitely bring huge uncertainty and open wide the door of convenience to arbitrary and unauthorised punishment.”
Unsurprisingly, the great Chinese firewall acted against the post and it later disappeared from Weibo.
However, no initial response could be received from the National People’s Congress.
The proposed law is a glaring example of how Chinese President Xi Jinping has clamped down on civil liberties during his reign and this includes further expansion of internet censorship.