An online celebrity in China spent five days in prison for reportedly disrespecting the Chinese national anthem during one of her broadcasts.
With 44 million followers, 21-year-old Yang Kaili is considered a live-streaming star on the social media platform Huya.
According to Shanghai’s Jingan district police, Yang “insulted” the national anthem on October 7 while introducing an “online music festival.”
She first hummed the intro of a ceremonial tune called “Athletes March” and then sung the opening words to the national anthem “March of the Volunteers.”
In the clip, she is seen waving her arms in the air mimicking a conductor, reports South China Morning Post.
Her online stunt earned the ire of some Chinese netizens and caught the attention of the authorities who described her behavior as “an insult to the dignity of the national anthem which repelled internet users”.
Under a law introduced last year, anyone who maliciously modifies the lyrics and plays or sings “March of the Volunteers” in “a distorted or disrespectful way in public,” cn face detention for up to 15 days or imprisonment of up to three years.
Yang, who was detained for five days for her act, issued two public apologies, begging forgiveness for her “stupid mistake” and promising to stop broadcasting. She also committed to undertaking “patriotic education and activities.”
“I sincerely apologize for singing the national anthem in an unserious manner while broadcasting. What I did has hurt your feelings. I’m sorry. Sorry to the motherland, to the fans, to web users, and to the platform,” Yang wrote on her Weibo account.
“The national anthem is solemn and should not be sung in a live-stream room,” she added.
“I will stop all live-stream work, perform self-rectification, draw lessons from the bitter experience, deeply reflect and fully accept education on ideological politics and patriotism.”
Soon after the controversy, Huya blocked Yang and took down all of her videos.
“The national anthem is solemn and sacred … Huya respects the anthem and firmly protects its dignity,” wrote the company in a statement.
It further added that Yang’s actions showed her lack of awareness of the “law and social responsibility”.
TikTok, another popular streaming app where she also has 44 million followers, also deleted all her videos.
Featured image via YouTube/xia qiu