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China: A joke about the army costs a comedy company $2 million


The Chinese comedian “Haoshi” sarcastically used the slogan of the People’s Liberation Army, “a good style of work that can win battles”, which cost him legal prosecutions from more than one side, and a fine of two million dollars.

Chinese authorities fined a comedy company millions of yuan on Wednesday, promising further legal action after one of its members made a joke about the People’s Liberation Army during a skit.

Li Haoshi, whose stage name is “House”, made a joke during a performance in Beijing on Saturday about the People’s Liberation Army emblem, according to an audio post on the social network Weibo. He was telling a story about his dogs chasing a squirrel, when he took up the National Liberation Army’s motto, “Good action wins battles.”

The Beijing Municipal Bureau of Culture and Tourism said on Wednesday that it had launched an investigation into Li’s company after someone reported that a joke made by the comedian broke the law and “had a bad social impact”.

She was fined 14.7 million yuan ($2.13 million) and all her future concerts in Beijing and Shanghai were suspended indefinitely. Beijing police said Wednesday night via Weibo that they had also opened an investigation into Li “in accordance with the law”.

The space available for dissent has shrunk dramatically under President Xi Jinping, who has ruled the country for a decade, as authorities have tightened online censorship and cracked down on independent media and artwork that express dissenting views.

Xi rules the country with an iron fist and ultra-nationalist approach, and has made strengthening the armed forces a priority both politically and economically, in addition to glorifying the army’s strength in domestic propaganda campaigns.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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