TV presenter insults Mao at private dinner

Here’s the video in question–kirk

Source: The Guardian (4/8/15)
Top Chinese TV presenter filmed insulting Mao at private dinner
Clip of Bi Fujian calling Mao a ‘son of a bitch’ goes viral, with his employer CCTV saying it will investigate the incident
By Tania Branigan China correspondent

 A TV presenter working for China’s state broadcaster was caught on film mocking Mao Zedong. Photograph: Bettmann/Corbis

A TV presenter working for China’s state broadcaster was caught on film mocking Mao Zedong. Photograph: Bettmann/Corbis

China’s state broadcaster has vowed to investigate after one of its top TV presenters was caught mocking Mao Zedong at a private dinner, calling him a “son of a bitch”.

The clip of Bi Fujian – who co-hosts CCTV’s biggest show, the annual new year gala – shows him regaling the table with a song from a Cultural Revolution-era opera, breaking off to curse the former leader. The footage swiftly went viral.

In a statement, CCTV said Bi’s remarks had “caused serious social impact”, promising: “We will conscientiously probe the matter and handle it seriously, in accordance with relevant rules and regulations.”

While the official verdict is that Mao was “70% right and 30% wrong”, the great helmsman’s portrait still hangs in Tiananmen Square and he features on the country’s banknotes. Many revere him despite the devastating famine that followed his Great Leap Forward and the persecution of millions in the Cultural Revolution.

A commentary on China Youth Net – set up by the Communist party’s youth league – said Bi owed the people of China an apology.

“Mao Zedong was a great man … and the founding father of the People’s Republic … [Without Mao and the party], would Bi Fujian be able to enjoy his big dinner while criticising the people who have fought for his happiness?” it asked.

“Not everyone and everything can be joked about and mocked without consideration, even if it’s at a private gathering or in the private domain.”

An article in the Global Times said that in general, private comments should not be used to identify someone’s true political orientation but that Bi had to take responsibility for “improper remarks”, while a piece in the Legal Daily said Bi had not broken the law but should be held morally responsible for his comments.

The West China Metropolis Daily reported that all programmes hosted by Bi would be suspended from 8-12 April, but did not indicate whether the shows would air again after this.

Qiao Mu, a journalism professor at Beijing Foreign Studies University, said suspending Bi was over the top because his remarks were made privately.

“Mao is a public figure. If people can comment on Chiang Kai-shek or Sun Yat-sen, why shouldn’t they be allowed to comment on Mao?” Qiao asked.

“Without Mao it wouldn’t hurt, but without Bi, middle-aged women would find their weekends quite idle.”

Bi grew up during the Cultural Revolution and the song he sang was from Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy, one of the model works allowed in an era when cynics joked that “800 million people watch eight operas”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.