In 1988, a prison song named Tears from the Iron Window touched the hearts of many Chinese fans. It was written by Chi Zhiqiang and featured his hurtful memory of living behind bars. The song’s monologue says, “The greatest tragedy in life is the loss of freedom.”

A person was filmed humorously clinging to a window at a quarantine center, singing the song with a sorrowful tone. The song’s relevance caused others at the site to crack up with laughter.

It is unclear when the moment was captured as Shanghai has begun to reopen tentatively since May 16. Before the prison song, China’s left-wing anthem, The Internationale, used to be a hit song to ridicule the city’s strict COVID-19 lockdown.

The song’s first line reads, “Stand up! Those people who refuse to be slaves!” It is unclear whether the person singing the prison song would fall into trouble with the local authorities or not. But for those who promoted The Internationale, at least one person has experienced some consequences for their action.

On May 5, footage of white-clothed officials slamming a resident’s door spread online. According to the conversation, the officers demanded the person to come with them to the station after they learned that he played The Internationale.

On the other hand, not everyone in Shanghai would loathe going to the quarantine center as one would presumably be fed and even provided with a bed. On May 14, a video of the man kneeling and begging to get infected was shared on Weibo.

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