An Aussie singer who sang the national anthem at the AFL Grand Final has seen a controversial song about China immediately banned.
Australian singer Kimberley Chen and Malaysian rapper Namewee have been blocked in China after releasing the satirical song “Fragile”.
The two Taiwan-based singers released the song on Friday and it quickly went viral before their accounts were blocked on China’s social media platform Weibo.
The irony of banning a song that ridicules Beijing’s sensitivity to criticism was apparently lost on authorities.
Beijing-backed Global Times confirmed the singers had been removed from China’s social and streaming platforms and said they had “insulted the Chinese people”.
“The song... is considered to contain insults against the Chinese people under the surface of a romantic love song,” the firebrand paper reported.
“Fragile” mocks President Xi Jinping, references alleged human rights abuses against the Uighur ethnic minority in Xinjiang and touches on Covid-19 and censorship.
The music video is themed with pink, and starts with the warning “please be cautious if you are fragile pink” — a reference to “Little Pink”.
The Global Times reported the phrase refers to young people who are “fired up with patriotic zeal and try to guard China against any criticism online”.
The song also features a panda figure dancing in the background — at times seen with money.
The song also takes a jab at Chinese leader Xi Jinping with the lyrics, “It’s illegal to breach the firewall, you’ll be missed if the Pooh discovers it”.
The portly Winnie the Pooh character has become a way for people to mock the president.
One line mentions a love for “dogs, cats, bats and civets” which apparently alludes to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Another clip shows the panda cooking a pot of bat soup.
The singers referenced “forced labour and detention camps in Xinjiang” - something that China has denied.
The Global Times reports Wee Meng Chee, known as Namewee, was banned from Sina Weibo in August after he made “sarcastic comments” about the Communist Party of China.
Kimberley Chen, whose parents emigrated to Australia from Malaysia, sang the national anthem for the AFL grand final in 2007.
The Global Times wrote she had been “exposed as having supported secessionist activities” and reported her Weibo account had been blocked after the release of “Fragile”.
Both singers have had their musical works removed from various Chinese streaming platforms such as Tencent Video and QQ Music. The song is available on YouTube.
Kimberley responded to the bans on Instagram and Facebook: “I’m sorry for hurting you. It’s okay to delete Weibo,” she sang, parodying the song’s lyrics.
“Oh, I hear a sound. Fragile self-esteem has broken into pieces. It’s okay, I still have IG and (Facebook).”
The song was trending number one in YouTube in Taiwan and had over one million views in a day.
The Beijing ban
Beijing is not shy with the ban button.
Chinese star Zhang Zhehan was blacklisted in China after photos emerged of him visiting the controversial Yasukuni and Nogi shrines in Tokyo.
Music platforms, including QQ Music and NetEase Music, took down all his music and deleted his personal profile.
Beijing also banned “effeminate” behaviour and actors with “incorrect politics” from TV in September.
China has also grown increasingly strident in responding to criticism and any references to Taiwan on the international stage.
In April, Beijing slammed NASA for the “unforgivable” crime of listing Taiwan as a separate country on the website’s menu.
China also demanded that fashion giant H&M change a “problematic” map on its website.
The fashion retailer was told to study various Chinese laws, “bolster its awareness of the national territory, and really ensure the standardised use of the Chinese map”.
The Swedish fashion retailer later agreed to amend the map.
The tiny country of Lithuania was blasted by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying in August for allowing Taiwanese authorities to open a “representative office” under the name of “Taiwan” instead of “Taipei”.
Read related topics:China