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China Bans Its Own National Anthem As Anger Over Lockdowns Rises

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China’s censors banned social media posts featuring the communist country’s national anthem after internet users co-opted its lyrics to protest Shanghai’s ongoing lockdown, multiple sources reported.

Censors are actively removing Chinese posts containing the first stanza of “The March of the Volunteers,” which features the lyrics “Arise, ye who refuse to be slaves,” NY Daily News reported.

Shanghai residents trapped in their homes are using the lyrics of the national anthem as a rallying cry following the implementation of a city wide lockdown, which began on April 5 in accordance with Xi Jinping’s signature zero-COVID policy. Thus far, the city of almost 29 million inhabitants has documented over 500,000 Omicron cases since March and 51 people have died from the outbreak, according to South China Morning Post.

Before it was removed, a censored post from an internet user commenting within the “Arise, ye who refuse to be slaves” thread read: “I don’t want to vent my anger subtly, I don’t want to repost a video that will be immediately deleted … I want to talk about freedom, rights, and sing the praise of what is beautiful, not what other people tell us to sing … If someone asks you to be deeply grateful [for what the government is doing], then fuck them,” according to a Daily Caller News Foundation translation.

China is also censoring the word “April” after a six-minute video titled “Voices of April” went viral on Weibo, according to China Digital Times. The short video, which was also uploaded to YouTube, featured audio clips from government officials spliced between clips showcasing the plight of Shanghai residents.

“The virus won’t kill us, but hunger will,” one man in the video is recorded as saying, according to a DCNF translation.

The now suppressed clip includes audio snippets highlighting Shanghai’s food shortages, the separation of children from their parents, and the killing of animals by health care workers, among many other government abuses which occurred in April resulting from the ongoing lockdown.

A search for “April” on Weibo will now only return results from the platform’s verified “blue checkmark” users, according to China Digital Times.

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