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法政匯思就國歌條例草案(「該草案」)的發言摘要(意見書全文按此

1. 法政匯思看不見將「不當使用」國歌或「侮辱」國歌的行為刑事化能夠為社會帶來多大的實際效益,以為政府對人民的憲制權利 ── 包括對言論自由的侵害 ── 提供充份的正當理由。

2. 即使我們假設將與國歌相關的行為刑事化而對憲制權利衍生的限制有其正當性,這種限制應該是狹窄而被清晰定義的。然而,現時該草案非常粗疏且模糊不清;尤其是該草案的第 6 和第 7 條更無法符合「依法規定」的原則。

第 7 條「侮辱」的定義

3. 第 7(8)條將「侮辱」定義為損害國歌尊嚴的行為,這個定義非常廣闊並且空泛。更危險的 是,即使是自由社會廣泛接受且不具冒犯性的行為,也將可能被此定義所涵蓋。

例子一: 

倘若在維多利亞公園裡一個和平和合法的示威期間,有人在示威者高呼「結束一黨專政」 等口號時播放國歌,而示威者忽略國歌並且繼續呼叫口號,這種行為是否構成「侮辱」國 歌?

例子二: 

如果有人在社交網站 Facebook 發表「國歌很難聽」的帖子,這是否構成「侮辱」國歌?

如果有人給予「讚好」或「心心」回應,又或者將這個帖子分享至自己的頁面上,此等行 為又是否構成「侮辱」國歌?

4. 「侮辱」的定義模糊和廣闊的程度在其與《國旗和國徽條例》的第 7 條比較時就更加明顯:

後者禁止人們侮辱國旗或國徽,而侮辱的方式則被指明為「焚燒、毀損、塗劃、玷污、踐 踏等方式」。

5.即使國歌條例草案無法列出一個禁止行為的列表,它至少應該提供一個清單以列出考慮某 種行為是否構成「侮辱」的因素。

「公開」的意思

6. 第 7(1)和 7(2)條所列罪行的其中一個控罪元素是公開地進行侮辱的行為,然而「公開」的 意思並不清楚。

例子三:

如果一群朋友興高采烈地在一間繁忙的大排檔裡吃飯,然後其中一個人高聲向其他朋友說 「國歌很難聽」,假設此行為構成「侮辱」,它又是否「公開」的行為?

第 6 條與第 8 條

7. 第 6 條禁止將國歌、國歌歌詞或國歌曲譜作各種用途,包括:商標或商業廣告、私人喪事 活動,或行政長官會同行政會議所定的場合、場所或目的。第 8 條則表示第 6 條的限制會 在當任何文字和曲譜的相似程度足以使人合理地相信該文字或曲譜就是國歌歌詞或國歌曲 譜的部分時被觸及。

8. 該草案並沒有清楚列明這些「部分」是多抑或少──這一點令人關注,尤其當國歌的歌詞 包含一些常見與常用的字詞和語句時。

例子四: 

假設有一間專門創造創意文化商品的公司設計了一張印有「起來,不願做奴隸的工友」此 字句的海報,並且將這些海報貼在所有分店裡,以宣傳旗下印有同樣字眼的「T-shirt」和 杯子等產品,此等使用海報的行為可能已經干犯第 6 條所列明的罪行。

9. 一個就純粹使用部分國歌歌詞或曲譜而作的「一刀切」限制將會打擊文化與創意產業的發 展,並且可能令無心犯案的人誤墮法網。

第 5 條與附表 3

10. 第 5 條和附表 3 列明了國歌必須被奏唱的場合。

11. 第 5 條對「奏唱」所作的定義是不清晰的:由誰來唱?這一點令人關注,尤其當將第 5 條 與附表 3 一併閱讀的結論是國歌必須於包括司法人員的宣誓儀式等場合被「奏唱」。

例子五: 

不諳中文的法官(包括來自香港或其他普通法司法管轄區)將無法唱出國歌。這是否代表 他們將不能宣誓就任香港的司法人員?

12. 若是為了保護國歌的尊嚴,只要列明國歌必須在指定場合「播放」(而非「奏唱」)已經足夠。


法政匯思 
2019 年 3 月 16 日

Progressive Lawyers Group’s Speaking Notes on the National Anthem Bill (see full submissions here)

  1. As a starting point, we see no material societal benefit or need in criminalising conduct involving the “misuse” of the national anthem or the “insult” of the national anthem, which justifies such encroachment on the constitutional rights of the individual, including the freedom of expression.
  • Even assuming the restriction of constitutional rights by criminalising conduct involving the national anthem is justified, the boundary of such restriction should be narrowly drawn and clearly defined. However, the Bill in its current form is poorly drafted and appallingly lacking in clarity. In particular, the offence creating sections (Clauses 6 and 7) regrettably fall foul of the “prescribed by law” requirement.

Clause 7

Definition of “insult”

  • The definition of “insult” in Clause 7(8) as conduct which undermines the dignity of the national anthem is extremely broad and hopelessly vague. There is great danger that conduct which is readily acceptable in a free society and not particularly offensive may nevertheless be caught.

Example 1:

If during a peaceful and lawful assembly in the Victoria Park, someone plays the national anthem when a group of demonstrators are shouting slogans such as “end one-party dictatorship” (結束一黨專政), and the demonstrators ignore the national anthem and continue to shout such slogans, does such conduct constitute “insult” of the national anthem?

Example 2:

If someone posts on Facebook that “the national anthem sounds awful” (國歌很難聽), does this constitute “insult” of the national anthem? If someone likes, hearts or shares this post, does such conduct constitute “insult” of the national anthem?

  • The ambiguity and width of the definition of “insult” is all the more apparent when contrasting with section 7 of the National Flag and National Emblem Ordinance which prohibits the desecration of the national flag. The prohibited acts are set out in an exhaustive and specific list, i.e. burning, mutilating, scrawling on, defiling or trampling on the national flag.
  • In the case of the Bill, even if it is not practicable to set out an exhaustive list of prohibited acts, it should at the very least set out a list of factors to consider when determining whether certain conduct constitutes “insult” of the national anthem.

Meaning of “publicly”

  • An element of the offences created by Clauses 7(1) and 7(2) is that the insult has to be committed publicly. Yet it is unclear what is meant by “publicly”.

Example 3:

If a boisterous group of friends are eating in a busy Dai Pai Dong when one of them says loudly to this group “the national anthem sounds awful” ( 國 歌 很 難 聽 ). Assuming that constitutes “insult”, was it done “publicly”?

Clauses 6 & 8

  • Clause 6 prohibits the use of the national anthem, its lyrics or score, in inter alia a trade mark or commercial advertisement, in private funeral event, or on occasions prescribed by the Chief Executive Offenders. Clause 8 provides that the prohibition under Clause 6 kicks in when words and score can reasonably be regarded as part of the lyrics or score of the national anthem.
  • It is unclear how big or small such “parts” may be. This is concerning in particular given that the lyrics of the national anthem contains common, everyday words and phrases.

Example 4:

A company specialising in creative cultural merchandise designs a poster bearing the words “arise, ye workers who refuse to be slaves” (起來,不願做奴隸的工友) and puts up such posters in all of its stores to promote its products such as T-shirts and mugs bearing these words. The use of the posters may constitute an offence under Clause 6.

  • A blanket ban on the mere use of part of the lyrics and scores will hinder the development of cultural and creative industries and create traps for the unwary.

Clause 5 & Schedule 3

  1. Clause 5 and Schedule 3 together provide for occasions on which the national anthem must be “played and sung”.
  1. It is unclear what “played and sung” in Clause 5 means: sung by whom? This is concerning in particular when read together with Schedule 3 which provides that the national anthem must be “played and sung” at oath-taking ceremonies of inter alia judicial officers.

Example 5:

Judges who do not speak the Chinese language (including those from Hong Kong and other common law jurisdictions) will not be able to sing the national anthem. Does that mean they are precluded from taking the judicial oath and assuming judicial positions in Hong Kong?

  1. For the purpose of protecting the dignity of national anthem, it ought to be sufficient to provide that national anthem must be “played” (rather than “played and sung”) on specified occasions.

Progressive Lawyers Group

16 March 2019