A popular Chinese television anchor could face severe punishment for insulting Mao Zedong, former chairman of the Communist Party of China and the country’s founding father. China’s broadcasting authorities have demanded that CCTV, star host Bi Fujian’s employer, deal with the case seriously and punish him for violating “political discipline.”
In a video posted online in April, Bi was seen singing a parody song at a private gathering and making disparaging remarks about Mao. Bi was suspended from his duties at CCTV after the video went public. The video was subsequently taken offline, shortly after the incident, triggering heated debate online, local media reported Monday.
Bi had “used ridicule to harm the image of the older generation of the Communist Party and the [late] state leader,” China Discipline Inspection Daily, which is affiliated with the country's top graft watchdog, said in a report on Sunday, adding that Bi’s remarks were not “an ordinary violation of discipline.”
“[The authorities] demanded the discipline inspection committee at CCTV to deal with the matter seriously and to educate the station to warn against [such behavior],” the report said, according to South China Morning Post.
The controversial video showed Bi -- best known for hosting the talent show “Star Boulevard” -- singing a song from “Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy,” one of the eight revolutionary operas produced during the Cultural Revolution. Bi altered some of the lyrics of the song to say that China had “suffered enough” under Mao.
Bi subsequently apologized for the incident on his Weibo account, saying that his comments created “a serious negative influence on society.” However, opinion about Bi's actions is somewhat divided with some people calling for him to be punished while others have argued that the clampdown on Bi is a violation of freedom of speech, BBC reported.