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A Chinese stand-up comedian drew the ire of the country’s communist government when he joked about the military during a recent show, reportedly leading to his arrest.
Li Haoshi was indicted for the joke at the expense of the People’s Liberation Army and the company that hired him fined $1.2 million, The Washington Times reported.
“We will never allow any company or individual to use the Chinese capital as a stage to wantonly slander the glorious image of the PLA,” the Beijing arm of China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism Bureau said in a statement this week.
Li was performing at the Century Theater in Beijing last week when he said he had two stray dogs since leaving Shanghai to move to the country’s capital. He then said the dogs chased a squirrel before moving on to the punchline.
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A Chinese navy fleet departs for Russia. A comedian has been arrested after making a joke about the Chinese military. (LiLi Yun/Xinhua via Getty Images Yun/Xinhua via Getty Images)
“Other dogs you see would make you think they are adorable,” a BBC translation of the jokes reads. “These two dogs only reminded me of… ‘Fight to win, forge exemplary conduct.’”
The phrase is a well-known Chinese Communist Party slogan linked to President Xi Jinping. After the joke went viral, a probe was launched by the Beijing Cultural Law Enforcement Agency and other agencies.
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Haoshi and the company that hired him tried to distance themselves from the remark. On social media, Haoshi said he felt “deep remorse and regret” for using “extremely unsuitable analogy to bring bad feeling and association to the audience.”
Shanghai Xiaoguo Culture Media Co., the company troupe that hired Haoshi, terminated his contract and was fined $2 million.
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People’s Daily, the official Communist Party newspaper, said comedians must limit their speech and that it is a mistake to put humor before all things. Authorities have also banned many of the talk shows that have provided a platform for comedians that are popular with young people in China.
Louis Casiano is a reporter for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent to [email protected].