Published: Thu, October 18, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Chinese live-streamer held for 'insulting' national anthem

Chinese live-streamer held for 'insulting' national anthem

What happened: On Saturday (October 13), Shanghai police revealed that Yang Kaili - a live-streaming celebrity better known as "Lige" - was detained for five days after singing the Chinese national anthem in a "disrespectful" manner online.

By contrast, conduct surrounding the national anthem has been a subject of heated debate in Hong Kong, a semiautonomous Chinese city with broad protections for freedom of speech.

Yang's controversial livesteam saw the 21-year-old flailing her arms around while "mockingly" singing the beginning of the anthem, according to China Daily.

She sang the first line of the national anthem while smiling and waving her arms around like a conductor.

Soon after the controversy, Huya blocked Yang and took down all of her videos. "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".

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". "Live-streaming webcast is not lawless territory and users should obey the law and uphold moral standards".

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"The national anthem is a symbol of the country, all citizens should respect [it] and safeguard [its] dignity", it said. "My behavior 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.

Yang said she would "stop all live broadcasting work, carry out self-reformation, painstakingly deepen reflection, fully accept ideological politics and patriotic education and diligently study the relevant laws and regulations of the National Anthem Law of the People's Republic of China". In a sign of the booming popularity of China's live-streaming industry, last month Yang was even invited to perform on a televised variety show on CCTV, the state-run broadcaster.

Yang said she would also watch patriotic propaganda films and participate in volunteer activities. It's not clear if she published the statement while still in detention.

Mocking the national anthem of any nation is in poor taste and one livestream celebrity in China has learnt the hard way that disrespecting the anthem of the PRC has serious consequences.

Yang Kaili, 20, has tens of millions of followers across various social platforms.

The song was broadcast on a livesteaming website called Huya, which was listed on the New York Stock Exchange earlier this year.

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