China's rubber-stamp legislature has made disrespecting the national anthem a criminal offense punishable by up to three years in prison.

The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress passed an amendment to the country's criminal law Saturday outlining punishments for people found "seriously" disrespecting the national anthem in public.

The legislature also moved to apply a separate, recently passed law on the national anthem to Hong Kong and Macau, Chinese semiautonomous regions with separate legal systems.

The anthem, "March of the Volunteers," has in recent months been a political flashpoint in Hong Kong. Soccer fans in the city have booed the anthem when it's played at games between the home team and teams from China or other countries.