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China jails blogger for disrespecting national anthem during live stream

The Chinese national flag. (Flickr/Gary Lerude)
October 18, 2018

Chinese police held a 20-year-old woman in custody for five days for “being disrespectful to the national anthem.”

In 2017, China passed a law against anyone disrespecting or mocking the “March of the Volunteers,” which is also the anthem for Hong Kong and Macau, Reuters reported.

The penalty for breaking that law is up to 15 days in jail.

Yang Kaili posted a live streaming video to Weibo and authorities said she was imitating the March of the Volunteers, according to The Hill.

In a short skit performed by Kaili, she was “humming marching music” while she pretended to be an orchestra director. After delivering some of the anthem verbally, she said, “Hello, good evening, comrades.”

According to the police in Shanghai, Kaili “was disrespectful to the dignity of the national anthem and invited disgust among netizens.”

Shanghai police also use the Weibo platform and posted last weekend, “Live streaming sites are not outside the law.”

After Kaili served her five days in jail, she posted another video, but this time she apologized for her actions and said she would “seriously watch patriotic publicity films” and not conduct live stream videos anymore.

Hong Kong has been under Chinese rule since 1997 and is not permitted free speech as U.S. citizens are with the First Amendment.

In April, three men who were accused of “hurting patriotic feelings” were arrested and held after they dressed like Japanese soldiers and had pictures taken at the memorial dedicated to China’s war with Japan.

Mocking the anthem in China is not the only violation of last year’s law. The law also prohibits the anthem from playing during commercials, at funerals, or even as contextual music. The lyrics of the anthem are also forbidden from modifications.

The law also requires citizens to stand for the Chinese anthem at any political assemblies or events and at key celebrations, in addition to singing along while it is played, The Business Insider reported.

The new law was enacted as President Xi Jinping calls for patriotic devotion among his citizens. It was passed by the National People’s Congress and states that protecting “the dignity of the national anthem” will help “promote patriotism and nurture socialist core values.”