Translation: Banned App Users’ Anthem Harmonized

In This World” was a song by Chinese singer . In 2017, the song was a top hit on many apps. Focusing on the grievances and discontent of the lower class, some internet users found political connotations in the song’s lyrics. Last week, Neihan Duanzi—a popular app that circulates jokes, memes and short videos—was permanently shut down by the State Administration of Radio and Television as part of a wider crackdown of “vulgar content”. Some Neihan Duanzi users gathered and sang “In This World” as a form of protest. The song has since been “harmonized” in China. The music was borrowed from Chris Medina’s “What Are Words.” CDT’s Ya Ke Xi has translated the lyrics into English:

Maybe we can’t wrestle with the mighty
Maybe when we lower our heads we’d weep
Maybe your heart is touched by the unjust deeds/snow in June [reference to June 4th]

There is a Berlin Wall around us
We live with hardships all of our lives
What has the great era robbed from us?

Whose life is not like a living hell in this world?
I don’t cry, because I have no more dignity to sacrifice
Some day when those dreams that we had are buried dead
Don’t cry, let it be
Just treat this song as a eulogy

We put masks on our faces
Rumors are sharper than swords
And money has so many worshippers

Truthfulness is buried in a cave
My soul has nowhere to escape
Reality is like a roaming wheel
And I’m an ant underneath

Whose life is not like a living hell in this world?
I don’t cry, because I have no more dignity to sacrifice
Some day when those dreams that we had are buried dead
Don’t cry, let it be
Just treat this song as a eulogy

Maybe we can’t wrestle with the mighty
Maybe when we lower our heads we’d weep
Maybe your heart is touched by the unjust deeds

There is a Berlin Wall around us
We live with hardships all of our lives
What has the great time robbed from us?

Who can prove that you once lived?

CDT Chinese editors have gathered netizen commentary following the song’s recent harmonization. A few examples have been translated below:

Pangtouyoull1(@胖头鱼ll1): I just noticed that “In This World,” a song that I had listened to countless times, was removed from all music platforms??? What’s going on.

@STVMao: Those who don’t care about politics are forced to hold a grudge against the government.

MaoLianLeiGongZuiZhuDasheng (@毛脸雷公嘴祝大圣): It sings out the grievances of the lower class. Disturbing the rulers, not good for harmony.

PangShuZaiZuoZhongguoMeng (@胖叔在做种国梦): You brazen, shameless fanatics. If the government says you can’t listen to something, you don’t. How dare you make baseless comments? Do you want to go on living or not?

BuyanbuyuJiuZhidaoChi (@不言不语就知道吃): Why do you think people call it Cultural Revolution 2.0 anyway? [Chinese]