Police arrested a popular Chinese blogger this weekend for “insulting” the country’s national anthem with an insufficiently melodious performance of it, authorities in Shanghai confirmed.
Authorities in Shanghai detained Yang Kaili, a 21-year-old online blogger with millions of followers, after she broadcast a video of herself singing the “March of the Volunteers” while flailing her arms around. The ten-second video, filmed inside what appeared to Yang’s bedroom on October 7th, was broadcast to 2 million people via the Huya app and lasted barely ten seconds.
However, the segment did not escape the attention of authorities, who deemed it a violation of China’s recent national anthem law that outlaws playing or singing the “March of the Volunteers” in a “distorted or disrespectful way in public.” Punishments for doing so involve up to 15 days detention.
“The national anthem is an embodiment and symbol of our country, and all citizens and organizations should respect and defend the honor of the anthem,” Shanghai police said on Saturday.
“Live-streaming webcast is not lawless territory and users should obey the law and uphold moral standards,” they continued. “The police will resolutely crack down on such behaviors that challenge the legal bottom line or public order and good social morals, in order to purify the Internet’s public sphere.”
As well as being detained for five days, Yang also had her account suspended by the Huya app, losing some 44 million followers in the process.
“Li Ge’s act violates the National Anthem Law,” the company said in a statement. “Huya has decided to ban her channel. We are committed to spreading positive energy and … safeguarding the dignity of the national anthem.”
Yang has since been forced to apologize profusely for her “stupid mistake” of hurting “the motherland, the fans, and the platform.”
“I sincerely apologize for the fact that I did not sing the anthem seriously,” she said. “The anthem is sacred and my behavior hurt everyone’s feelings. I will now perform self-rectification, draw lessons from the bitter experience, deeply reflect and fully accept education on ideological politics and patriotism.”
The National Anthem law was passed by federal lawmakers, who argued the law would help “promote patriotism and nurture socialist core values.” Such legislation is typical of Beijing’s aggressive campaign to promote patriotism and crackdown on political dissidents, as they seek to indoctrinate the nation into the Chinese Communist Paty’s ideology.
As such, arrests of those seen as disrespecting any part of the Chinese government are increasingly common. In July, police in Shanghai also arrested a woman filmed herself on Wednesday splashing paint on a photo of Chinese leader Xi Jinping, with some even speculating that she may have been a target for the government’s drug-based “brain control” indoctrination program.