China punishes blogger for disrespecting national anthem

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese authorities detained a blogger for five days for “being disrespectful to the national anthem”, police in the city of Shanghai said.

Last year, China introduced a law mandating up to 15 days in police detention for those who mock the “March of the Volunteers” national anthem.

In a video circulating online, 20-year-old blogger Yang Kaili was shown humming marching music before she started to recite the first line of the national anthem while waving her hands as if conducting an orchestra.

She then greeted her audience with: “Hello, good evening, comrades.”

Shanghai police said Yang “was disrespectful to the dignity of the national anthem and invited disgust among netizens”.

“Live streaming sites are not outside the law,” police said in a post on the weekend on their verified account on the Weibo platform.

Yang apologized last week in a Weibo post, vowing to stop live streaming, to conduct “self-rectification” and “seriously watch patriotic publicity films”.

The national anthem law also covers the territories of Hong Kong and Macau.

In recent years, some football fans in Hong Kong, a former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997, have booed the Chinese national anthem at matches in protest against what some in the city see as Beijing’s growing reach in its affairs.

Reporting by Pei Li and John Ruwitch; Editing by Robert Birsel