China’s main state broadcaster, CCTV, will investigate one of its anchors after a video of him insulting the founder of modern China, Mao Zedong (毛澤東), went viral on social media sites.
Mao, who died in 1976, remains a divisive figure. His image adorns banknotes and his embalmed body attracts hundreds, if not thousands, of visitors a day to Beijing.
While the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has acknowledged Mao made mistakes, there has yet to be an official accounting for the chaos of the Cultural Revolution or the millions of deaths from starvation during the 1958-1961 Great Leap Forward.
In a brief statement released on its Web site late on Wednesday, CCTV said the remarks of its anchor, Bi Fujian (畢福劍), “had a serious social impact.”
“We will seriously handle the matter in line with related regulations and based on careful investigation,” it said without elaborating.
In the video, which is still circulating on social media sites, Bi sings parts of a Cultural Revolution-era opera called Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy, and then inserts his own comments, including that Mao led the people to misery.
Mao has also become a potent symbol for leftists within the CCP who feel that three decades of market reform have gone too far, creating social inequalities like a yawning rich-poor gap and pervasive corruption.
However, the decision to investigate Bi has generated much anger on the Internet, with many people saying he should not be rebuked. One poll on a microblogging site showed that 80 percent of respondents thought Bi should not apologize.
“Criticizing Mao in private is something that can still be hyped up? It’s been done in public not only overseas, but also in China,” prominent liberal economist Mao Yushi (茅于軾) wrote on his microblog.
The Global Times said Bi, 56, was known for hosting a CCTV talent show. He has also hosted CCTV’s Chinese New Year’s special since 2011.
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
The Australian government yesterday said that it plans to give Google and Facebook three months to negotiate with media businesses fair pay for news content. In releasing a draft of a mandatory code of conduct, Canberra aims to succeed where other nations have failed in making tech firms pay for news siphoned from commercial media companies. Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that Google and Facebook would be the first platforms targeted by the proposed legislation, but others could follow. “It’s about a fair go for Australian news media businesses, it’s about ensuring that we have increased competition, increased consumer protection and a sustainable
SURGE CONTINUES: India recorded its steepest spike of more than 57,000 new virus cases in 24 hours, as Vietnam went from no virus deaths to reporting three South Korean prosecutors yesterday arrested the elderly leader of a secretive religious sect as part of an investigation into allegations that the church hampered the government’s COVID-19 response after thousands of worshipers were infected in February and March. Prosecutors in the central city of Suwon have been questioning 88-year-old Lee Man-hee, chairman of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, over charges that the church hid some members and underreported gatherings to avoid broader quarantines. The Suwon District Court granted prosecutors’ request to arrest Lee over concerns that he could temper with evidence. Lee and his church have steadfastly denied the accusations, saying they are