No kidding: China fines comedy company $2m for ‘insulting’ military

Beijing on Wednesday fined a Chinese comedy studio around $2 million for a joke comparing the Chinese military to stray dogs, a reminder of the ever-tightening limits of expression under the country’s leader, Xi Jinping. .
The Beijing Municipal Bureau of Culture and Tourism accused a popular comedian, Li Haoshi, who is employed by the studio, of “severely insulting” the People’s Liberation Army, China’s military, during two live performances in Beijing on Saturday. The authority said his joke had a “despicable societal impact”. “We will not allow any company or individual to gratuitously slander the glorious image of the People’s Liberation Army,” the statement said.
The authority also said it had suspended all Beijing performances held by the Shanghai-based studio indefinitely. Xiaoguo Cultural Media. The bureau also confiscated about $180,000 of what officials described as illicit income uncovered during the investigation, which was launched on Monday. Shanghai officials followed suit, suspending all Xiaoguo performances there. The investigation was launched after a recording of Li’s prank was posted online. In it, Li described a scene in which her two adopted strays were chasing a squirrel. The ferocity of the dog chase, he said, reminds him of a well-known Chinese military slogan about virtue and courage: “Maintain exemplary conduct, fight to win.”
Xi used the slogan during a political meeting with a military delegation in 2013, shortly after he came to power, and the phrase has since been popularized. The joke spread widely on social media, after critics claimed the comedian mocked what had been a serious speech given by Xi.
The sanction dealt a blow to China’s nascent stand-up comedy scene, highlighting the march of high-flying comedians in China, where the boundaries of speech are constantly tightening. The Beijing authority, when announcing the punishment against Xiaoguo, urged artists and writers to have “correct creative thinking” and “provide wholesome spiritual nourishment to people.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

GreenLeaf Tw2sl