BEIJING (Reuters) - China is reviewing a draft law to protect the reputation and honor of “heroes and martyrs” and punish those who “glorify wars of invasion”, state media said on Wednesday, amid public anger at people dressing up in Japanese army uniforms.
China unveiled the law to protect heroes and martyrs in December, and it is likely to be passed by the largely rubber-stamp parliament on Friday.
Xi Jinping has ushered in new legislation aimed at securing China from threats both within and outside its borders since taking over as president in 2013, as well as presiding over a sweeping crackdown on dissent and free speech.
China amended its criminal in November to extend punishments for publicly desecrating the national flag and emblem to include disrespecting the national anthem. Punishments include jail terms of up to three years.
The latest proposed legislation is aimed at protecting the reputation of martyrs - those who have given their lives for China or the Communist Party - and who are already publicly lauded in the country.
The official Xinhua news agency said that the second draft of the law mandates punishment for “people who profane the deeds and spirit of the heroes and martyrs and those who glorify wars or acts of invasion”.
It did not say what punishment they might receive.
The news agency said the wording was added following recent incidents where Chinese people had dressed in Japanese World War Two army uniforms and spread the pictures online “to glorify the war of invasion”, igniting widespread outrage in China.
“The legislation aims to promote patriotism and socialist core values,” Xinhua said.
Party history is a sensitive subject because so much of the party’s legitimacy rests on its position as claiming great historical achievements, such as leading China to victory over Japan during World War Two.
China and Japan have sparred frequently about their painful history, with Beijing often accusing Tokyo of not properly atoning for Japan’s invasion of China before and during the war.
Reporting by Ben Blanchard