Hip-hop scenes around the world are known for their anti-establishment stance, but apparently not in China. Many of the country's rappers are actually very patriotic and have taken to social media to call out the ongoing pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.
They are now sharing a meme originally posted by communist paper People’s Daily on Aug. 14 that shows the words “I support Hong Kong police, you can hit me,” in Chinese characters and with a red background.
Hong Kong police have been criticised for resorting to violent tactics to suppress protesters. The posts, which are all over Chinese microblogging site Weibo, were likely prompted by an incident in which Hong Kong protesters attacked Chinese journalist Fu Guohao on Aug. 14. Fu, a reporter for state newspaper Global Times, was allegedly hit with umbrellas and kicked repeatedly. The meme arose shortly afterward, according to Inkstone News.
The most prominent Chinese rappers picked up on the trend and blatantly displayed their allegiance to the government online.
First was Rap of China season one winner Wang Hao (rapper name PG One). He posted the image on Weibo with a caption that translates to: “Support Hong Kong police, resist violent atrocities!!! I hope everyone is safe and secure!”
The 25-year-old rapper is known for his lyrics which glorify money, drugs, and sex, becoming quite a controversial figure in his country. His song, “Christmas Eve” featured references to “white powder” and several sexual innuendos. It was slammed by the Chinese Communist Youth League, which resulted in the rapper issuing an apology.
Miss Vava, one of the biggest female rappers in China, was the second Rap of China star to share the picture. She posted it on her Instagram account, where she has over 300,000 followers, with the caption: “Hong Kong is a part of China forever.”
Instagram isn’t accessible in China without the use of a virtual private network (VPN) but despite this, Vava’s post went viral on Weibo where netizens praised the rapper. The hashtag #VAVA INS# became one of Weibo’s trending topics on Aug. 14. Over 300 million people reposted the rapper’s Instagram post.
They're not the only Chinese hip-hop artists who have expressed support for the government. Rapper After Journey posted the image on Instagram and said: “Compatriots, remember this day, remember this moment.”
Chinese hip-hop group Higher Brothers had several of its members posting the Chinese national flag on Instagram the same day the "I support Hong Kong police" meme went viral.
Rappers Melo and DZ Know, both in Higher Brothers, shared the flag on their respective accounts to show their solidarity with their country.
The South China Morning Post reports that seven of China’s biggest rap stars have condemned Hong Kong protesters as of Aug. 21. Some have even used their art to send an even bigger anti-Hong Kong message.
Chengdu-based, government-sponsored group Chengdu Revolution (CD Rev) created a rap remixing United States President Donald Trump’s comments regarding China. Trump said on Aug. 2 that the ongoing protests is an issue between Hong Kong and Beijing.
CD Rev’s song titled “Hong Kong’s Fall,” used Trump’s comment in their half-English, half-Mandarin rap with lyrics “All I see is a beautiful dream turning to nightmare. Can I say hi there? Hong Kong they all liars. Yeah I’m talking about American hypocrisy. They know nothing about love, just war and casualties.”
It has been broadcasted all over Chinese state media outlets including The People’s Daily, CGTN, and China Daily.
Pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong started as early as March but continue to this day. While demonstrators were first fighting against an extradition bill that would allow suspected criminals to be tried in the mainland, many are now rallying for autonomy from the mainland. Protesters have broadened their demands and their activism has swept through the city—from the government headquarters to the streets, and even the airport. Beijing has labeled these protesters as terrorists.