Mocking Mao Zedong no joke for Chinese star Bi Fujian - or CCTV
Discipline authorities at industry watchdog tell state broadcaster told to treat case seriously
Broadcasting authorities have labelled popular television host Bi Fujian's swipe at Mao Zedong a "serious violation of political discipline" and demanded his employer deal with the case seriously.
Bi was suspended from on-air duties at CCTV in April after a video of him telling jokes critical of Mao at a private gathering was leaked.
China Discipline Inspection Daily, a newspaper affiliated with the country's top graft watchdog, said in a report on Sunday that Bi had "used ridicule to harm the image of the older generation of the Communist Party and the [late] state leader".
"[Discipline inspectors at the] State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television … decided that it was not an ordinary violation of discipline. Instead, it is an act that seriously violated political discipline," the report said.
"[The authorities] demanded the discipline inspection committee at CCTV to deal with the matter seriously and to educate the station to warn against [such behaviour]."
The leaked video showed Bi at a private dinner with friends singing Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy, one of eight revolutionary operas produced during the Cultural Revolution.
In the 76-second video, Bi makes a satirical comment, including a brief line saying that Mao gave the people a tough time.
CCTV had promised in April to "investigate and handle Bi's [case] seriously". "As a CCTV host, Bi's comments in the online video clip have caused a serious social impact," it said on its microblog. Bi also apologised for "creating a serious negative influence on society" with his choice of words.