Celebrity CCTV host Bi Fujian found himself on the wrong end of public scrutiny this week when a video clip of him calling Mao Zedong a “son of a bitch” who caused people to “suffer bitterly” surfaced online.
Taken at a private dinner, no one has stepped forward for filming Bi as he tipsily added barbed comments to an aria from one of the model operas of the Cultural Revolution for the chuckling group gathered around the table. Leftists attacked Bi, while the state broadcaster has suspended him. Bi apologized on Weibo last night for “creating a serious negative influence on society” with his words.
Supporters defend Bi’s right to speak his mind, particularly at a private gathering. Some point out that his comments on Mao, while crude, are also true, and that the backlash against Bi recalls the public denunciations at the heights of Mao’s rule. Chinese cartoonists reflect on the public shaming of Bi for what should have been off the record. Who was the Judas at dinner who pressed record on his phone?