Comedian Arrested In Beijing As Informants Become Norm Again In China, Eroding Mutual Trust

Recently, there is a growing trend of people informing others secretly in Chinese society, with multiple high-profile incidents occurring in succession. Current affairs analysts point out that the culture of reporting others to the authorities is a typical product of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) ideology, and breeds a lack of trust between people.

On May 13, famous Chinese stand-up comedian Li Haoshi used a Chinese military slogan to commend his adopted stray dogs in two of his performances in Beijing. The slogan he used, to “have good conduct and capable of winning battles,” was originally Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s words when he set a goal for the People’s Liberation Army. An audience member reported on him, saying that he had insulted Chinese soldiers.

Beijing then police arrested Li, saying that they had opened an official investigation into his performance. Li and the comedy firm he worked with were suspended from future performances and heavily fined.

On May 19, the Kunlun Institute, a self-proclaimed independent Chinese research institute, republished an old article from 2021 on its official website, criticizing Chinese painter and sculpture artist Yue Minjun for engaging in an “organized and orchestrated campaign of insulting the military and opposing the Chinese Communist Party” with an art museum in Shunde, Guangdong.

In the article, Kunlun’s guest commentator, Yang Zhaoyou, posted several paintings featuring Chinese communist soldiers and others. Each of the characters has an absurdly exaggerated smile, and some of them even had horns on their heads. These characters are based on ordinary soldiers, police officers, communist model soldier Lei Feng, and communist leaders such as Mao Zedong, Stalin, and Karl Marx.

The article said these characters are “not to be insulted” and the author “strongly requests the relevant authorities to investigate this organized insult” to the military and the CCP. After the article was published, some Chinese social media users also launched attacks against Yue Minjun but others felt that the criticism of Yue was too far-fetched.

In another incident on May 22, a Chinese netizen reported in an online post that a teacher at Lanzhou University, when lecturing in a classroom, publicly discredited the CCP’s propaganda of the Korean War, which the Chinese regime refers to as “The War to Resist U.S. Aggression and Aid Korea.”

According to two pictures in the teaching slides, the teacher presented the opposite view of what the CCP depicts as “aiding North Korea and defending our motherland.”

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