Monday, June 12, 2023

It's not a joke: China fines a comedy troupe $2 million for "insulting" the armed forces

Beijing fined a Chinese parody studio around $2 million on Wednesday for a joke that contrasted China's military with homeless canines, an indication of the consistently restricting bounds of articulation under the nation's chief, Xi Jinping.

The Beijing Civil Culture and The travel industry Department charged a famous humorist, Li Haoshi, who is utilized by the studio, of "seriously annoying" Individuals' Freedom Armed force, China's military, during two live exhibitions in Beijing on Saturday. His joke had a "vile societal impact," according to the authority. According to the statement, "We won't allow any company or individual to slander the glorious image of the People's Liberation Army for selfish reasons."

Additionally, the authority stated that all Beijing performances hosted by the studio, Xiaoguo Culture Media, based in Shanghai, would be postponed indefinitely. The bureau also seized approximately $180,000 worth of what officials called "illicit income" discovered during the Monday investigation. Shanghai officials followed suit and halted all Xiaoguo performances there. The test was sent off after a recording of Li's joke was posted on the web. Li was talking about a scene where his two adopted stray dogs were running after a squirrel. He said that the dogs' ferocity in their pursuit reminded him of a well-known Chinese military proverb about grit and virtue: Be exemplary and fight for victory."

Xi had involved the motto in a political gathering with a tactical designation in 2013, soon after coming to drive, and the expression has since been promoted. After critics argued that the comedian had made fun of Xi's serious speech, the joke spread widely on social media.

The penalty was a significant setback for China's burgeoning standup comedy scene, highlighting the delicate balance that comedians must maintain in a society where speech norms are constantly enacted more strictly. The Beijing authority, in reporting the discipline against Xiaoguo, asked specialists and essayists to have "right imaginative reasoning" and "give sound profound sustenance to individuals".

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