Chinese authorities have ordered a state broadcaster to punish one of its anchors, popular TV celebrity Bi Fujian, for insulting Communist Party founder Mao Zedong at a private banquet, according to state media.
Bi was filmed singing an old revolutionary opera while mocking Mao and his legacy. After the video went viral in April, he publicly apologised and was suspended by his employer, China Central Television (CCTV).
Bi is most known in China for hosting a popular talent show, “Avenue of the Stars”.
The China Discipline Inspection Daily, a newspaper under the party’s anti-corruption commission, said on Sunday that discipline inspectors found Bi in violation of “political discipline” for harming Mao’s image.
According to the report, the Chinese State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television ordered CCTV to deal with the matter “severely” and to educate people within the broadcasting system.
CCTV did not respond to requests for comment.
In the video, which censors subsequently wiped from the Chinese blogosphere, Bi used a vulgar Chinese insult to describe Mao and claimed that “he has ruined us all”.
Commonly regarded as the founding father of the People’s Republic of China, Mao has suffered a decline in esteem since governing the Communist Party after its establishment in 1949.
His policies, which led to famine and the death of millions, have been critiqued by the ruling Communist Party.
However, Mao still remains a venerated figure in China, with the official line being he was “70 percent good”.