China Central Television (CCTV) suspended popular host Bi Fujian after a video surfaced that showed him insulting Mao Zedong. The station announced they will investigate the incident and Fujian recently apologized.
At a dinner party, the crooner belted out tunes from “Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy,” one of the few operas allowed during Mao’s brutal regime. He changed a few words that included calling Mao a “son of a bitch.” From The New York Times:
“The Communist Party! Chairman Mao!” Mr. Bi sang, adding, sotto voce, “Uh, don’t mention that old son of a bitch, he tormented us!”
“Leading us forward, a red star on our heads and revolutionary red banners planted either side!” he went on, adding: “What kind of costume is that?”
“The red banner points to clouds dispersing! The people of the revolutionary region overthrow their landlords, free themselves!” he sings, adding, “Huh, what did the landlords do to offend you?”
“The people’s army, sharing suffering and woe with the people, have come to clear Tiger Mountain!” he concludes, ending with a salty, dismissive expression that can’t be printed here.
“His comments in this Internet video have serious social consequences,” stated the network. “We will conscientiously investigate this and sternly deal with it according to the relevant regulations.”
Many citizens used social media and personal blogs to defended Bi.
“He was only fired because he’s a public figure, and because we don’t have freedom of speech in this country,” claimed one person on Sina Weibo, China’s equivalent to Twitter.
Bi apologized a day after the story broke. He also lost his job as ambassador for an educational charity.
“I feel extremely remorseful and pained,” he wrote on social media. “I sincerely offer my deepest apologies to the public. As a public figure, I will certainly heed the lessons and exercise strict demands and discipline over myself.”
Mao Zedong founded the People’s Republic of China. He led the country as the Chairman of the Communist Party of China from 1949 to 1976. He ruled with an iron fist and instilled a cult of personality in the country. Frank Dikötter, a Hong-Kong based historian, claimed “45 million people were worked, starved or beaten to death” during Mao’s Great Leap Forward from 1958 to 1961. Mao used the program to change China into a socialist society. He also established over 1,000 forced labor camps. One former prisoner, Henry Wu, said “that from the 1950s through the 1980s, 50 million Chinese passed through the Chinese version of the Soviet gulag” and “[T]wenty million died as a result of the primitive living conditions and 14-hour work days.”
Dikötter poured over the Chinese archives after the government opened them four years ago. He reported his findings in his book, Mao’s Great Famine; The Story of China’s Most Devastating Catastrophe, which “reveals that while this is a part of history that has been ‘quite forgotten’ in the official memory of the People’s Republic of China, there was a ‘staggering degree of violence’ that was, remarkably, carefully catalogued in Public Security Bureau reports, which featured among the provincial archives he studied.” From The Independent:
In them, he found that the members of the rural farming communities were seen by the Party merely as “digits”, or a faceless workforce. For those who committed any acts of disobedience, however minor, the punishments were huge.
State retribution for tiny thefts, such as stealing a potato, even by a child, would include being tied up and thrown into a pond; parents were forced to bury their children alive or were doused in excrement and urine, others were set alight, or had a nose or ear cut off. One record shows how a man was branded with hot metal. People were forced to work naked in the middle of winter; 80 per cent of all the villagers in one region of a quarter of a million Chinese were banned from the official canteen because they were too old or ill to be effective workers, so were deliberately starved to death.
Chinese leader Xi Jinping has showed in his last two years in power that he is not willing to tolerate any form of dissent. The regime blocked Gmail, Facebook, and YouTube. Google barely exists in China due to censorship, but publications close to the Communist party claimed Google did not “comply with Chinese law.” Xi’s regime also demanded “that universites do more to promote Marxist doctrine and Communist party ideological guidance.” State media reporters must attend classes to “detect and denounce teachers whose ideas might be considered ‘scornful of China’ or pro-Western.”
Christians cannot escape persecution from Xi. In 2011, the regime placed several pastors under house arrest simply because “they tried to arrange Easter services in a public square.” Authorities destroyed 400 churches in eastern Zhejiang province,” removed crosses at nursing homes, and protested against Christmas lights. One official even told people to “resolutely resist the use of Christianity by foreigners to infiltrate China.”