Blogger detained for 'being disrespectful to Chinese national anthem'

Yang Kaili

Chinese authorities detained a blogger for five days for "being disrespectful to the national anthem", police in the city of Shanghai said.

In September past year, the National People's Congress passed a law against mocking the national anthem, with a punishment of up to 15 days in jail.

In a video circulating online, 20-year-old blogger Yang Kaili was shown humming marching music before she started to recite the first line of the national anthem while waving her hands as if conducting an orchestra.

"The national anthem is solemn and sacred ..."

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Yang's punishment is the most high-profile arrest yet for violating a new national anthem law issued by China previous year.

Huya, the live-streaming platform where Yang broadcast the bit, had taken down her video and blocked her channel following the incident.

"Huya respects the anthem and firmly protects its dignity", the company said in a statement, adding that Yang's behaviour reflected her lack of awareness of the "law and social responsibility".

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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. The NPC changed the criminal law in November to allow those who disrespected the anthem to be jailed for up to three years.

A Chinese live-streaming star has been detained for five days after singing part of the national anthem in a "disrespectful" way while broadcasting.

Yang's mistake didn't amount to denigrating any martyrs in the Communist Party pantheon, but she nonetheless issued a profuse apology for the "stupid mistake" of hurting "the motherland, the fans, and the platform".

Some internet users expressed anger at her apparent levity while the police statement described her behaviour as "an insult to the dignity of the national anthem which repelled internet users".

According to media reports, Ms Yang had some 44 million followers on Huya before her account was shut down. "Sorry - so sorry - to my homeland, sorry to my fans, sorry to netizens, sorry to the online platforms", she said.

"This is shameful. She is insulting the anthem and breaking the law", another added.

Her videos on Dou Yin, known as TikTok outside of China, has also been deleted.

The BBC reported that Yang said, "I sincerely apologize for the fact that I did not sing the anthem seriously", and vowed that she would "stop all live broadcasting work".

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