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Main content start

Getting to Know the National Flag, the National Anthem and the Regional Flag

 

 

 

1. Brief descriptions of the national flag

2. Brief descriptions of the national anthem

3. Brief descriptions of the regional flag

4. Points to note while displaying the national flag and regional flag

5. Learning and teaching resources

 

 

1. Brief descriptions of the national flag

 

  • The Preparatory Committee of the New Political Consultative Conference decided to set up a first-round selection committee on the designs of the national flag and national emblem on 16 June 1949 and invited submission of designs through such newspapers as the People’s Daily between 14 July and 15 August of the same year.  Subsequently, the first-round selection committee selected 38 designs from a total of 3 012 received and turned them into print for discussion at the First Plenary Session of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference in September 1949. A resolution adopting the “Five-star Red Flag” as the national flag was passed on 27 September 1949.

The national flag

china

The national flag of the People's Republic of China

 

 

 

Specifications for the national flag

 

 

 

1. To determine the position of the five stars, the face of the flag shall be first folded both ways to form four equal rectangles; then the rectangle on the upper left shall be vertically divided into 10 equal sections and horizontally divided into 15.

 

2. The central point of the big five-pointed star shall be at a point in the rectangle where the 5th line from above (or the 5th line from below), and the 5th line from the left (or the 10th line from the right) meet. The method of drawing shall be: taking this point as the centre and the length of three such equals as the radius to make a circle. On the circumference of this circle, five points with equal distances from each other shall be determined, one of the points must be in the right above position of the circle. Then connect each of the five points with every other point to form a straight line respectively. The outline formed by these five straight lines shall be the required big five-pointed star. An angle of the five-pointed star shall point in the right above direction.

 

3. The centres of the four small five-pointed stars shall be as follows: the first shall be at a point, in the rectangle, where the 2nd line from above (or the 8th line from below), and the 10th line from the left (or the 5th line from the right) meet; the second shall be at a point where the 4th line from above (or the 6th line from below), and the 12th line from the left (or the 3rd line from the right) meet; the third shall be at a point where the 7th line from above (or the 3rd line from below), and the 12th line from the left (or the 3rd line from the right) meet; the fourth shall be at a point where the 9th line from above (or the 1st line from below), and the 10th line from the left (or the 5th line from the right) meet. The method for drawing shall be: taking each of the above four points as the centre and the length of one such equal as the radius to make four circles. On each circle, five points with equal distances from each other shall be determined. One of such points must be on the line linking the centre of the circle with the centre of the big five-pointed star. Then the same methods used in forming the big five-pointed star shall be used to form the small five-pointed stars. The four small five-pointed stars shall respectively have an angle pointing right at the centre of the big five-pointed star.

(Source: The Protocol Division, Government Secretariat)

 

 

Standard sizes of the national flag

 

The measurement in common use for the national flag, from which people from various circles may choose at their discretion shall be as follows:

 

 

Length (cm)

Height (cm)

(1)

288

192

(2)

240

160

(3)

192

128

(4)

144

96

(5)

96

64

(Source: The Protocol Division, Government Secretariat)

 

 

Reference:

  1. The Constitution of the People’s Republic of China
  2. The National Flag and National Emblem Ordinance
  3. The Central People's Government, the People's Republic of China – National Flag
  4. The Protocol Division, Government Secretariat

Back to the top

 

2. Brief descriptions of the national anthem 

 

History of the national anthem

 

“March of the Volunteers" is the national anthem of the People’s Republic of China.  It was originally the theme song of Sons and Daughters in a Time of Storm (1935), a movie about fighting against Japan Aggression and saving the country. The song was written by the noted poet Tian Han with music by the famous composer Nie Er (see note). The original story of Sons and Daughters in a Time of Storm was created by Tian. It depicts the heroic stories of young people marching to the front line to defend their country against Japanese occupation in the early 1930s.

 

The 1930s, which unveiled the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression in the history of modern China, threw the entire Chinese nation into a life-and-death situation. On 18 September 1931, induced by the Japanese militarism, the Japanese Imperial Army launched an outrageous attack and occupied northeast China. This attack, which is later called the “Mukden Incident” provoked the strong resistance of the Chinese people. There were different sorts of campaigns against Japanese Aggression everywhere to call upon people to save the country. Tian Han and Nie Er's "March of the Volunteers" was one of the songs to propagate the message of anti-aggression. With its strong regular rhythm and uplifting tune, the song captures the fearless and tenacious fighting spirit of the Chinese nation.

 

“March of the Volunteers” circulated extensively throughout the country after the movie Sons and Daughters in a Time of Storm premiered in May 1935. On 27 September 1949, “March of the Volunteers” was adopted as the provisional national anthem of the People’s Republic of China at the First Plenary Session of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. On 1 October 1949, the Central People’s Government of the People’s Republic of China was established. At Tiananmen Square in Beijing, with the rise of the “Five-star Red Flag”, "March of the Volunteers" resonated as the national anthem of the People's Republic of China for the first time.

 

On 14 March 2004, the Tenth National People's Congress passed the "Constitution (Amendment)" and added a paragraph to Article 136 of the Constitution of the People's Republic of China, stipulating that "March of the Volunteers” shall be the national anthem of the People's Republic of China.

 

On 1 September 2017, the Twenty-ninth Session of the Standing Committee of the Twelfth National People's Congress passed the “National Anthem Law of the People's Republic of China”, which took effect in the country from 1 October 2017. On 4 November 2017, the Thirtieth Session of the Standing Committee of the Twelfth National People's Congress agreed to add the "National Anthem Law of the People's Republic of China" to Annex III to the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China. In parallel, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government announced that, pursuant to Article 18 of the Basic Law, the "National Anthem Law of the People's Republic of China" would be implemented in the HKSAR by way of local legislation consistent with the constitutional and legal regime of the HKSAR. On 4 June 2020, the National Anthem Bill was passed at Third Reading by the Legislative Council. On 11 June 2020, the Chief Executive signed the National Anthem Ordinance in accordance with Article 48(1)(3) of the Basic Law. The National Anthem Ordinance came into immediate effect on the next day, 12 June after it was being gazetted.

 

 

Note:
Music: Nie Er (1912-1935), formerly known as Nie Shouxin, was born in Kunming, Yunnan.  As a teenager, he already showed a keen interest in music. He moved to Shanghai and wrote "March of the Volunteers".

 

Lyrics: Tian Han (1898-1968), also named Shouchang, was born in Changsha, Hunan.  He was a pioneer in modern drama and opera reform movement of China. He once studied in Japan.。

 

 

Lyrics of “March of the Volunteers”(Audio track – Choir) 

 

Arise, we who refuse to be slaves!
With our very flesh and blood,
Let us build our new Great Wall!
The peoples of China are at their most critical time,
Everybody must roar defiance.
Arise!
Arise!
Arise!
Millions of hearts with one mind, Brave the enemy’s gunfire,
March on!
Brave the enemy’s gunfire, March on!
March on!
March on, on!

 

 

 

Musical features (Audio track – Instrumental)

 

 “March of the Volunteers” is a march. The trumpet introduction imitates the sound of the bugle giving a strong sense of rhythm. Its musical features include:

 

When the national anthem is being played or sung, attendees should stand solemnly and deport themselves with dignity and behave in a way respectful to the national anthem.

 

Reference:

1. The Central People's Government, the People's Republic of China – National Anthem

2. The Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau – National Anthem

Back to the Top

 

3. Brief descriptions of the regional flag

 

  • The collection and selection of designs for the regional flag and regional emblem of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region were the responsibility of the Committee for Selecting Designs for the Regional Flag and Regional Emblem of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, consisting of five drafters of the Basic Law and six experts from both Hong Kong and the Mainland. After the selecting committee conducted the first and second rounds of selection from the 7,147 contributed designs, the Basic Law Drafting Committee examined and appraised the candidates recommended by the selecting committee.  Since the Drafting Committee failed to decide upon a single set of designs for the regional flag and regional emblem to be submitted to the National People’s Congress for examination, the selecting committee again worked out three sets of candidate designs of the regional flag and regional emblem for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region through collective modification of certain contributed designs. The draft designs of the regional flag and regional emblem to be submitted to the National People’s Congress for examination were finally selected at the ninth plenary session of the Basic Law Drafting Committee through secret ballot.  On 4 April 1990, a resolution regarding the designs of the regional flag and regional emblem of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region was passed at the Third Session of the Seventh National People’s Congress.

The regional flag

hk

The regional flag of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

Specifications for the regional flag

 

 

(Source: The Protocol Division, Government Secretariat)

 

 

Standard sizes of the regional flag

 

There are eight different standard sizes of the regional flag. Their measurements are as follows:

 

 

Length (cm)

Height (cm)

Number 1

288

192

Number 2

240

160

Number 3

192

128

Number 4

144

96

Number 5

96

64

Car Flag

30

20

Flag for Signing Ceremony

21

14

Desk Flag

15

10

 

If regional flags of non-standard sizes are required to meet special needs, they shall be of a scaled-up or a scaled-down size.
(Source: The Protocol Division, Government Secretariat)

 

Reference:

  1. The Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China
  2. The Regional Flag and Regional Emblem Ordinance
  3. Explanations on the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China (Draft) and Its Related Documents (Addressing the Third Session of the Seventh National People’s Congress” on 28 March 1990)
  4. “Decision of the National People’s Congress on the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China (Adopted at the Third Session of the Seventh National People’s Congress on 4 April 1990)
  5. The Protocol Division, Government Secretariat

Back to the Top

 

4. Points to note while displaying the national flag and regional flag

 

Priority of the national flag

 

 

Flying the national flag and regional flag at the same time

 

 

Raising and lowering of the flags

 

 

Condition of flags

 

 

Severe weather conditions

 

 

According to the website of the Protocol Division, Government Secretariat, certain uses of the national and regional flags and anthem under the following occasions are prohibited:

 

 

It is an offence to contravene these provisions.

 

A person shall not use the national flag, national emblem, regional flag or regional emblem or their designs in connection with any trade, calling or profession, or the logo, seal or badge of any non-governmental organisation, except with the prior approval of the Deputy Director of Administration.  Prior application to the Deputy Director of Administration to use the national flag, national emblem, regional flag or regional emblem or their designs should be made in writing to the following address:

  Administration Wing, Chief Secretary for Administration's Office
  25/F, Central Government Offices
  2 Tim Mei Avenue, Tamar, Hong Kong
  Fax no.: 2804 6552
  Email: flags&emblems@cso.gov.hk

 

A person who desecrates the national and regional flags or emblems by publicly and willfully burning, mutilating, scrawling on, defiling or trampling on them commits an offence.

 

For details of the offence provisions, please refer to the National Flag and National Emblem Ordinance and the Regional Flag and Regional Emblem Ordinance.

 

 

Points to note for schools on the display of the national flag and the regional flag, and the playing and singing of the national anthem

 

To promote national education and enhance students’ sense of national identity, primary and secondary schools must display the national flag and the regional flag as well as play and sing the national anthem when holding celebration activities for the New Year’s Day (1 January), the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Establishment Day (1 July) and the National Day (1 October). The Education Bureau (EDB) also strongly advises schools to display the national flag and the regional flag, as well as to play and sing the national anthem on important days and special occasions, such as the first day of a school year, open day, graduation ceremony, swimming gala / sports day, school anniversary events and Chinese Culture Day; and encourages schools to display the national flag and the regional flag, and or play and sing the national anthem regularly. Teachers and students should stand solemnly and deport themselves with dignity while the national flag and the regional flag are being raised, and observe the relevant etiquette while the national anthem is being played and sung to show their respect for the country and demonstrate their good quality as nationals.  For non-Chinese school staff and students, observing the etiquette while the national flag is being raised and when the national anthem is being played and sung is a way of showing respect for the country they are located.
(For details, please refer to the Education Bureau Circular No. 9/2020: Display of the National Flag and the Regional Flag and Playing and Singing of the National Anthem)

 

Reference:

  1. Education Bureau Circular No. 9/2020: Display of the National Flag and the Regional Flag and Playing and Singing of the National Anthem
  2. The National Flag and National Emblem Ordinance
  3. The National Anthem Ordinance
  4. The Regional Flag and Regional Emblem Ordinance
  5. The Protocol Division, Government Secretariat

 

Back to the Top

 

5. Learning and teaching resources

 

i. Learning and Teaching of the National Anthem: Supplement to Arts Education Key Learning Area Music Curriculum Guide (Primary 1 to Secondary 3) (pdf)

 

ii. Examples of Learning Strategies/ Activities for the Learning and Teaching of the National Anthem (General Studies for primary schools, Moral, Civic and National Education, Chinese History, Liberal Studies, Music) (pdf)

 

iii. National Anthem – Offical recording
     Audio track - Choir    Audio track – Instrumental

iv. Introduction to flag-raising ceremony


v. School examples of flag-raising ceremonies

 

Useful links:

 

National Flag

 

i. The Central People's Government, the People’s Republic of China – National Flag
    (http://big5.gov.cn/gate/big5/www.gov.cn/guoqing/2005-05/24/content_2615209.htm)

 

ii. The Constitution of the People's Republic Of China
    (https://www.basiclaw.gov.hk/en/basiclawtext/index.html)

 

iii. The National Flag and National Emblem Ordinance
     (https://www.elegislation.gov.hk/hk/A401!en?INDEX_CS=N)

 

iv. The Protocol Division, Government Secretariat – The national flag, national emblem, regional flag and regional emblem
     (https://www.protocol.gov.hk/eng/flags/index.html)

 

 

National Anthem

 

i. The Central People's Government, the People’s Republic of China – National Anthem
    (http://english.gov.cn/audio)

 

ii. National Anthem Ordinance
    (https://www.elegislation.gov.hk/hk/A405!en-zh-Hant-HK.pdf?FROMCAPINDEX=Y)

 

iii. The Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau – National Anthem
    (https://www.cmab.gov.hk/en/issues/national_anthem.htm)

 

iv. Committee on the Promotion of Civic Education – TV Announcements in the Public Interest
   (https://www.cpce.gov.hk/main/en/nationale.html)

 

Regional Flag

 

i. The Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China
    (https://www.basiclaw.gov.hk/en/basiclawtext/index.html)

 

ii.The Regional Flag and Regional Emblem Ordinance
    (https://www.elegislation.gov.hk/hk/A602!en?INDEX_CS=N)

 

iii. The Protocol Division, Government Secretariat – The national flag, national emblem, regional flag and regional emblem
    (https://www.protocol.gov.hk/eng/flags/index.html)

 

Flag-raising and flag-lowering ceremonies

 

i. Short videos for download:

 
  • Introduce the information on flag-raising and flag-lowering ceremonies.

 

ii. The Association of Hong Kong Flag-guards
    (http://www.ahkf.org.hk/)

 

Others

 

i. Education Bureau – The website on Basic Law education 
   (https://www.edb.gov.hk/tc/curriculum-development/4-key-tasks/moral-civic/Newwebsite/Basiclaw.html)

 

ii. Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau – The Basic Law website
    (https://www.basiclaw.gov.hk/en/index/index.html)

 

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