During a performance, mainland stand-up comedian House used the phrase “exemplary style, capable of winning battles” to describe a stray dog, which led to an audience member reporting it as an insult to the People’s Liberation Army soldiers. Official media joined in the condemnation, causing the incident to trend online. The comedian and their company issued apologies and announced an indefinite suspension. Critics criticize the Chinese Communist Party for regressing into a historical reversal and fostering a culture of brainwashing, where the mentality of reporting is deeply ingrained in the public. Under the “White Terror atmosphere,” creators can only sing praises and uphold the establishment.
Meanwhile ,There have been show cancellations across various parts of the country: a Japanese monk-singer canceled his tour in China, several cities suspended comedy shows, and a jazz performance was canceled in a bar in Beijing. Within a few days, over a dozen shows were abruptly canceled, some just minutes before their scheduled start time, with little to no explanation.
Prior to these cancellations, the authorities in Beijing fined a Chinese comedy studio 13.35 million RMB, as the government accused one of the studio’s comedians of insulting military personnel in a joke. In a northern city, the police also detained a woman who defended this comedian online.
These punishments, along with the subsequent series of sudden cancellations, indicate that the creative sector in China, which is already subject to strict scrutiny, is facing increasingly severe censorship. China’s top leader, Xi Jinping, has identified art and culture as primary targets in the ideological struggle, demanding that artists align their creative aspirations with the goals of the Chinese Communist Party and promote a nationalist vision that favors Chinese identity. Performers are required to submit their scripts or program details for prior review, and various publications are closely monitored.