More costly price for indiscreet remarks in Internet age

By Shan Renping Source:Global Times Published: 2015-4-8 0:49:01

A video clip featuring well-known Chinese Central Television host Bi Fujian dining with friends and singing an excerpt of a revolutionary Peking opera went viral on Monday. This opera, Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy, was based on a true story about a Communist soldier who went undercover and destroyed a local gang of bandits in 1946.

Due to the play's revolutionary spirit, it became one of only eight plays allowed during the Cultural Revolution. Thus, it has been regarded as an icon of Chinese socialist and revolutionary culture from the 1960s and 70s.

However, Bi's version, according to the clip, was an adaptation that mocked and humiliated the Communist Party and Mao Zedong. Thanks to Bi's popularity with the Chinese public, a sensation was caused as soon as the clip was posted online.

No further information has been released about why Bi parodied this classical play with such scathing satire. We can only tell that it happened in private, and we don't know if his mockery was for fun or protest. We also have no idea whether he was aware he was being filmed. At any rate, any post of controversial remarks without consent is not encouraged.

Generally speaking, remarks in private shouldn't be used to define a person's political orientation, because they are usually uttered in casual situations. Only serious and well-considered statements can serve as proof of someone's political orientation. Therefore, unlike in the era of Cultural Revolution, a short, questionable clip is not sufficient to identify Bi's real political orientation.

However, this video has certainly dealt a blow to Bi, who has been a loved and popular host of entertainment programs. He will have to take the responsibility for making these improper remarks.

The popularity of the Internet has ramped up the exposure of celebrities to the public, reminding them to act and speak more discreetly, be they in public or in private.

Recent years have seen numerous sensations caused by celebrities' improper words and deeds caught on video across the world.

In cyberspace, people's attention focuses on a magnified moment, which is often taken out of context. Therefore, a minor incident might lead to a significant outcome.

It should be noted that even though it was only for fun, Bi's adaptation of the epic play is quite vulgar. If what he sang is really what he thinks, then it is understandable that many people are disappointed in him.

The media organization Bi works for does not only produce popular programs, but also requires a solid political orientation because it is a State media organization. But still, without further information, we cannot define him as a "double-dealer."

Bi's case should serve as a lesson for all other celebrities, who need more prudence than ever in self-expression. What's more, they need to realize that standing together with mainstream society is more important than coarse mockeries.

Posted in: Observer

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