China's Internet censors have deleted a satirical song and video that took a swipe at President Xi Jinping's new political slogan, "the Chinese dream," its creator said.
Li Lei, who is known online for his satirical song videos, including one hitting out at corrupt and lazy officials and another in support of the 2011 popular uprising in Egypt, called his latest song "the people's take" on Xi's new theme.
"It was posted online [on Friday], and this one was pretty popular," said Li, who collaborated with poet "Qianli Fengxue" on the lyrics.
"Large numbers of people left comments, and it was deleted twice in the space of a single day," Li said, who uses the online nickname "Red Clothes" because of his trademark attire in the videos.
The lyrics to the song ran: "China's dream isn't one of dictatorship, or authoritarian government; nor is it a deleted dream," Li said.
"The Chinese dream is the people's dream, a dream of democracy and constitutional government," said the song, performed by Li to a camera in his trademark, karaoke-like style.
Searches for "Red Clothes," "the Chinese dream," or "the people's dream," on popular video-sharing sites 56.com and Youku yielded no results on Monday.
Dream of 'freedom, elections'
The lyrics call for a dream that doesn't belong to the rich and powerful, or to mafia-style enforcement gangs.
"The Chinese dream isn't a dream of forced evictions, but of freedom and elections," Li sang in the censored video.
Netizens commented that the song had spoken for people across China, and showed the nation what its people truly dream of.
"Perhaps this will make officials sit up and take notice of the people's voice," said one commenter.
President Xi's vision of the "Chinese dream" calls for a doubling of GDP between 2010 and 2020, a healthier population, and a "harmonious and civilized, modern society," according to official media reports.
Xi also seeks "a renaissance of the greatness of the Chinese people," the official Xinhua news agency quoted Xi as saying on Sunday at the Bo'ai Economic Forum in the southern island province of Hainan.
"The government is really making a big deal of this China dream concept right now, so I thought I'd steal their idea and express our own political views, which are different from the official view," Li said.
"People were saying online that every word stabbed at them ... everyone thought that their own deepest thoughts and feelings were being spoken aloud," he said.
Guangzhou-based activist Xu Lin said the lyrics of "The Chinese Dream" were timely.
"They basically express our point of view, and I basically agree with them," Xu said. "Everyone wants democracy, to expose the reality of darkness and corruption [in China]."
China's ruling Communist Party last year rolled out an Internet real-name registration policy aimed at ending the ability of the country's online population to post anonymously.
Chinese netizens have become increasingly hampered by government blocks and censorship, which have been billed as part of Beijing's all-out war on social media "rumors."
Netizens have long railed at the "Great Firewall," a system of blocks, filters, and human censorship that controls what Chinese can see online, and say that circumvention software used to tunnel under it is no longer working.
However, there is little sign that Xi's administration will relax tight controls on domestic media or on what netizens can see and say online.
In January, journalists at the cutting-edge Guangzhou-based newspaper Southern Weekend announced a strike over political censorship, sparking protests outside the paper's headquarters.
Many of those who spoke out online against the censorship were detained and questioned by China's state security police, while some have yet to be released.
Reported by Qiao Long for RFA's Mandarin Service. Translated and written in English by Luisetta Mudie.