China is considering a ban on clothing that “hurts the feelings” of the nation, said the recent draft revisions to legislation. The vagueness around the matter is sparking a lot of concern on the matter of its interpretation and enforcement in the country, reported news AFP. The proposed law said that speech and clothing considered “harmful to the spirit of the Chinese people” or that “hurts the feelings” of the nation will attract fines or even jail time. However, there is no specification information available on the types of clothing that could be banned after the implementation of new rules.
Many people have been expressing concerns about it. A 23-year-old Beijinger was quoted as saying by AFP: “Determining who has the authority to decide and how to make judgements may require more time, and we need the establishment of mature judgement criteria before advancing such proposals.”
She also said that most of these offences targeted by the law do not fall under the category of “clear crimes like robbery, where right and wrong are definitive”.
Many legal experts have also commented on the matter. They objected on many such grounds when it was released earlier this month for public consultation which ends on September 30, as per AFP’s report.
Speaking on it, Tsinghua University’s Lao Dongyan on the social media platform Weibo, said, the current proposals could lead to a situation of “too vague a standard of punishment, which will easily lead to an arbitrary expansion of the scope of administrative punishment.”
This comes even as police in China use the broad charge of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” to punish people with clothing or banners bearing messages deemed politically sensitive, reported AFP.
Moreover, these changes would give the authorities more power to impose restrictions on any kind of clothing perceived as harmful to public morality.
Earlier this month, some social media videos went viral, in which a man was shown being questioned by police in the southern city of Shenzhen supposedly for livestreaming himself wearing a skirt. The event triggered a discussion about individual freedom of expression.
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