Accessibility links

Breaking News

China Broadcaster to Punish Anchor Who Insulted Mao

FILE - Bi Fujian, an anchor of China Central Television (CCTV), speaks during a news conference in Beijing.

A Chinese state television broadcaster says it will punish one of its top anchors who was captured on video ridiculing Mao Zedong, the founder of modern China.

In the video taken at a private dinner, China Central Television host Bi Fujian can be seen parodying a Cultural Revolution-era opera, Taking Tiger Mountain, before using an epithet to describe Mao.

The video spread quickly on Chinese social media, prompting CCTV to suspend Bi, according to some Chinese media reports.

In a statement late Wednesday, CCTV said Bi Fujian's remarks "have had a serious social impact" and vowed to "seriously handle the matter in line with related regulations and based on careful investigation."

The 56-year-old Bi is known for hosting a talent show and the CCTV Spring Festival Gala, according to the state-run Global Times newspaper.

His comments reflect a division within Chinese society about the legacy of Mao, who served as the chairman of China's Communist Party since its establishment in 1949.

Mao, who died in 1976, oversaw the Great Leap Forward. During that period, China was transformed from an agricultural to an industrial economy, but millions died of starvation.

In the years following his death, the party has acknowledged Mao made mistakes. Its official line is that Mao's policies were 70 percent correct and 30 percent wrong.