The first line of China’s national anthem says: “Stand up! Those who refuse to be slaves.” Users on China’s Twitter-like Weibo had begun using the line to protest the strict lockdown and food shortages in Shanghai. Authorities responded by blocking searches of the line.
Hashtags referencing the line were blocked over the weekend. Users got the message “no results can be found.”
It is unclear when the lyrics from the national anthem were blocked. Users began reporting the blocking on Sunday.
A Sunday night post with more than 11,000 likes and 3,000 shares read: “How do you sing the first line of the national anthem?”
Another commented: “Even the national anthem has been censored. Does that mean that China will also have to change its name soon?”
The lyrics were shared along with the hashtag #Shanghai and news reports about the deteriorating situation in Shanghai.Some even modified the lyrics, with one user posting: “Stand up! Those slaves who are hungry and cold.”
Following a spike in cases, Shanghai has been in a strict lockdown in recent weeks, where residents are not allowed to go out to get essentials such as groceries and medical care. Many in the city have complained about not getting food, since the delivery system is overwhelmed.
The government has ignored and even censored posts about the shortages caused by the lockdown, and insists on continuing with its zero-Covid policy.