Activists holding a candlelit remembrance outside Victoria Park in Hong Kong on June 4, 2020, to mark the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown. Photo: Anthony Wallace/AFP via Getty Images

Hong Kong’s legislature approved a bill Thursday that makes insulting the "March of the Volunteers," the Chinese national anthem, illegal, AP reports.

Why it matters: It did so on the 31st anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests, when Chinese troops opened fire on pro-democracy activists in 1989. The death toll has never been released, but estimates vary between hundreds and thousands.

  • The ban follows the passage of a new national security law for Hong Kong that criminalizes rebellion, foreign influence and secession in the Asian financial hub.

The big picture: The pro-democracy minority of the legislature believes the law infringes on Hong Kongers' freedom of expression and is another consequence of Beijing’s tightening control over the territory.

  • The pro-Beijing majority said the law is necessary for citizens to show appropriate respect for the anthem.

Thought bubble, via Axios' Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian: The ban is an intentional slap in the face to Hong Kong residents who have placed great value on the city's traditional freedoms. It's also a show of power. Beijing has openly revealed itself as dictating Hong Kong's laws.

What's next: From now on, those found guilty of abusing the “March of the Volunteers” may face up to three years in prison and a fine of up to 50,000 Hong Kong dollars ($6,450).

Go deeper: Hong Kong's economic future hangs in the balance

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Updated Jul 1, 2020 - World

Hong Kong's fate is the future of globalism

Andrew Wan, a pro-democracy legislator, is arrested during a protest in Hong Kong, July 1. Photo: Yat Kai Yeung/NurPhoto via Getty Images

A new security law in Hong Kong is the latest blow to a globalist vision of the free movement of people, ideas and capital.

Why it matters: The law all but eliminates the civil rights that people in Hong Kong have exercised for years. But it also points the way to a more dangerous and divided world that will be increasingly defined by borders and nationality.

New Hong Kong law sets harsh penalties for broadly defined political crimes

An advertisement from the government promoting the new law in Hong Kong. Photo: Anthony Kwan/Getty Images

Hong Kong's government released the text of a new national security law imposed by Beijing just as the law came into force on Tuesday.

What it says: The law defines crimes such as terrorism and sedition broadly, but mandates harsh sentences — in many cases life imprisonment — for those found to have committed them. It will be enforced by a National Security Committee, headed by Hong Kong's chief executive, without any input from the judiciary.

Jul 2, 2020 - World

Congress unanimously approves China sanctions over Hong Kong security law

Pro-democracy protesters during a demonstration on July 1, 2020. Photo: Tommy Walker/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The Senate approved a bill via unanimous consent on Thursday that authorizes sanctions on Chinese officials involved in implementing Hong Kong's draconian new national security law, in addition to banks and firms that do business with them.

Why it matters: The bill, which passed the House unanimously on Wednesday, is part of the United States' bipartisan rebuke of China's passage of the security law, which encroaches on Hong Kong's independent legal system by setting harsh punishments for broadly defined crimes associated with protests.