Li Haoshi, a Chinese stand-up comedian who joked about the country’s military performing at the Century Theater in Beijing last week citing a Xi military slogan was indicted and the company that hired him – Shanghai Xiaoguo Culture Media Co.- was fined $2 million. “We will never allow any company or individual to use the Chinese capital as a stage to wantonly slander the glorious image of the PLA,” the Beijing arm of China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism Bureau said in a statement. After the joke went viral, a probe was launched by the Beijing Cultural Law Enforcement Agency. On social media, Haoshi said he felt “deep remorse and regret.”
Police in Beijing said they had opened an official investigation into his performance, which they said “caused a severe social impact”.The official Communist Party newspaper, said comedians must limit their speech and that it is a mistake to put humor before all things. Some nationalists among Chinese internet users agreed. Mr Li’s Weibo account has been suspended. Shanghai Xiaoguo’s activities in the Chinese capital have also been indefinitely suspended. Standup comedy has become increasingly popular in Chinese cities in recent years. However there are certain no-go topics. Bigger venues have required comics to submit full transcripts of their sets before a performance.