China detains internet star for ‘disrespecting’ national anthem in 10-second segment

Yang Kaili

Yang Kaili

All citizens and organisations should respect the national anthem and protect its dignity, ' the statement read, adding that live-streaming platforms are not 'above the law'. Those found disrespecting the anthem can be detained for up to 15 days.

Shanghai police said this weekend they punished Yang Kaili, one of China's most-followed online celebrities, with five days of "administrative detention" after she bumbled through the first line of the Chinese national anthem while wearing fuzzy moose ears and waving her arms cartoonishly during a live stream.

Yang was introducing an "online music festival" when she hummed the beginning of a ceremonial tune called Athletes March, before singing the opening words to the national anthem March of the Volunteers while waving her arms in the air like a conductor.

According to media reports, Ms Yang had some 44 million followers on Huya before her account was shut down. "We are committed to spreading positive energy and. safeguarding the dignity of the national anthem".

Yang, faced with user backlash in addition to her punishment, has since released two apologies for her "stupid mistake" and said she will no longer broadcast videos.

Huya, the live-streaming platform where Yang broadcast the bit, had taken down her video and blocked her channel following the incident. "Sorry - so sorry - to my homeland, sorry to my fans, sorry to netizens, sorry to the online platforms", she said.

"I sincerely apologise for the fact that I did not sing the anthem seriously".

"What I did has hurt your feelings", she said.

It further added that Yang's actions showed her lack of awareness of the "law and social responsibility".

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

Soldiers of People's Liberation Army (PLA) attend a flag-raising ceremony during sunrise at Tiananmen Square on Chinese National Day.

Ms Yang apologised last week in a social media post, vowing to stop live-streaming, to conduct "self-rectification" and "seriously watch patriotic publicity films".

Live streaming is one part of the huge internet celebrity phenomenon in China, with millions tuning in to watch their stars do everything from singing and playing games to eating and partaking in insane challenges.

The move has caused intense controversy in Hong Kong as many people expressed concerns that they might accidentally violate the law, which, besides banning any form of distortion or insult, says people must stand and act respectfully on certain occasions when the anthem is played.

However, Chinese authorities have been tightening control amid a recent crackdown on such live-streaming services.

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