A popular Chinese live-streamer has been detained for singing the national anthem not seriously enough. Pundits say that the latest episode reflects the expansion of censorship by Chinese President Xi Jinping into Chinese media outlets as well as the Internet.
The Shanghai Police Department said on Sunday that Yang Kaili, a 20-year-old Chinese live-streamer, has been detained for five days for violating China’s national anthem law. The police department said Yang Kaili broke the national anthem law stipulating that one must stand and refrain from disrespectful acts when the anthem is played, stressing that the arena of the Internet is not immune to such law.
Yang Kaili, who is also known as Li Ge, is a popular live-streamer in China. She is a wanghung, a Chinese expression referring to a major Internet celebrity, with more than 44 million followers on TikTok, a popular streaming app.
The Internet celebrity hummed the national anthem while broadcasting on Huya, a Chinese version of YouTube, to introduce an online music festival on October 7. The singing lasted only for three seconds, but she was quickly under fire for insulting the “dignity of the national anthem.”
Yang issued two apologies on social media, saying that she would like to apologize for singing the national anthem in an unserious manner, and that she was sorry to her motherland as well. But the controversy spread, and Huya decided to shut down Yang Kaili’s broadcasting account. Eventually, Yang faced detention a week after the incident. The Shanghai Police Department said that it would strictly punish acts that challenge the parameters of law and violate the public order and fine custom of the country.
Wan-Jun Yun firstname.lastname@example.org