Man jailed for six months for stepping on Chinese flag

A Chinese man has been jailed for insulting "national dignity" after he stepped onto a flag at the opening of his new martial arts centre.

The man, who was surnamed Zhong, was sentenced to six months in jail by a court in southern China, the latest example of authorities clamping down on what they deem as unpatriotic behaviour.

Mr Zhong is the third Chinese man to be punished by authorities for "insulting the national flag" in recent months.

He placed the flag on the floor at his new martial arts centre in Zhaoqing, Guangdong province, as part of a traditional ceremony to celebrate the opening of the business last February.

A video of the event, which went viral, shows him standing on the flag as he placed offerings onto it, while lion dancers and children dressed in traditional Chinese costumes performed in the background.

The People’s Court in Zhaoqing said on Tuesday that Mr Zhong had been jailed.

A statement posted online by the court said he had "intentionally trampled on the national flag, damaging national dignity and causing a very bad social influence.

"His acts have committed the crime of insulting the national flag and he should he should be punished in accordance with the law."

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Authorities in the northern city of Tianjin jailed a man for two months for cutting up 66 national flags last December.

A month earlier, a restaurant owner in Qinghai province was detained for 15 days for hanging the flag upside down in his kitchen.

China is also considering jailing people for three years for disrespecting its national anthem, a move which has sparked alarm and protests in the former British colony of Hong Kong.

Additional reporting by Christine Wei

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