In what appears to be one of the most bizarre news related to the ‘touchy’ topic of respect towards one’s national anthem, a 21-year-old Chinese online star has been jailed for five days after singing the national anthem “badly and insulting it”.
The Shanghai Police punished Yang Kaili, who has more than 45 million followers, for appearing in a 10-second video on October 7 singing a snippet of the national anthem “March of the Volunteers” in her signature cutesy voice and waving her arms like a conducter.
In a statement as quoted by The Telegraph, the Shanghai Police said: “All citizens and organisations should respect the national anthem, and protect its integrity.” “Live-streaming webcast is not lawless territory and users should obey the law and uphold moral standards. 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,” the police added.
This prompted Yang to stop broadcasting online, to undergo patriotic education, and to reflect deeply on her misguided actions. “My actions have deeply hurt everyone’s feelings. Sorry – so sorry – to my homeland, sorry to my fans, sorry to netizens, sorry to the online platforms,” she said. “I will deeply reflect, and fully accept ideological, political and patriotic education, and study hard on the National Anthem law and relevant regulations.”
Yang’s detention is the first high-profile instance of Chinese authorities enforcing the anthem law. The anthem law is one manifestation of how China’s government under President Xi Jinping has emphasized nationalism and ideological discipline while cracking down on dissenting speech - or even jokes, according to a report on NDTV.