A top television anchor on CCTV, China’s state network, has been suspended after a video in which he insulted Mao Zedong went viral.
The episode highlights how the former Communist Party chairman divides the country three decades after his death, the Financial Times reported.
Many revere Mao as the founder of modern China, but others see him as a murderous villain, responsible for millions of deaths from famine and persecution.
The video, which was apparently filmed with a smartphone at a private dinner, shows Bi Fujian, who presents the CCTV talent show Avenue of the Stars, singing part of a political opera from the 1960s Cultural Revolution era, interspersing sarcastic jibes among the lyrics.
At one point, he sings a line referring to “chairman Mao of the Communist Party”.
“Don’t even mention that son of a bitch; he has brought enough trouble!” Bi grins.
CCTV said the video would be investigated.
“We will conscientiously probe the matter and handle it seriously,” the broadcaster said, announcing the suspension.
The incident comes at a time when CCTV is under fire for a series of corruption scandals that have ensnared Rui Chenggang, another top TV anchor, and his boss, the head of CCTV’s business channel.
Both were arrested last summer.
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