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China Cancels Comedian Uncle Roger Over Taiwan Joke



China Cancels Comedian Uncle Roger Over Joke

Comedian Nigel Ng, also known as Uncle Roger, has been censored on Chinese social media sites Weibo and Bilibili after a clip of him joking about China, Taiwan, and Xi Jinping was uploaded on Thursday.

Ng’s social media accounts were stopped on Friday (May 19) after he discussed censorship, CCP internet monitoring, and Taiwan’s status in an exaggeratedly humorous manner. Weibo stated that the comedian had “violated relevant regulations,” according to LTN.

In the video, Ng asks audience members where they are from, and one responds, “Guangzhou, China.” “Good country!” said Ng hurriedly. “Great country!” “We have to say that now, correct?” he added. “Every phone (is) listening.”

Then he inquired as to whether anyone was from Taiwan. When some individuals said yes, Ng retorted sarcastically, “Not a real country! “This isn’t a real country!”

Ng claimed near the end of the video, “This is not a political show,” and that “Uncle Roger is going to be cancelled after tonight.” The following day, Ng’s accounts were suspended.

His suspension comes at a time when the authoritarian leadership in Beijing is refocusing on how it views comedy and lashes down on people who break political red lines.

Last week, a joke by Chinese comedian Li Haoshi that made a casual allusion to the army triggered a massive outcry from officials, who fined him $2 million and barred him from performing in major cities.

Police have also opened an inquiry into Li, who now faces jail time. Weibo has also taken away Li’s posting rights after he cancelled all of his work.

Ng, 32, rose to prominence three years ago after posting a video of Uncle Roger, an outspoken middle-aged man with a loud Malay accent, mocking BBC Food presenter Hersha Patel’s method of making Chinese-style egg-fried rice.

The video has now received 34 million views.

The comedy Ng released on Twitter last week was filmed on his recent stand-up tour, during which he discussed more political topics.

After learning that one of the audience members is from China’s southern Guangzhou province, Uncle Roger declares China to be a “good country.”

“Do we have to say that now?” “Everyone’s phones are listening,” he continues, garnering chuckles from the audience.

He then declares, “Long live President Xi,” before joking about his “social credit score going up,” a reference to China’s social-engineering-style effort that employs big data and a mix of rewards and punishments to motivate good behaviour.

To applause from the audience, he also addresses Taiwan, saying it is “not a real country” that would “one day rejoin the motherland” – echoing the Communist Party of China, which considers the island democracy as its own territory.

He then requests that a member of the audience from Guangzhou put in a good word for him with the authorities.

“Uncle Roger, good comrades,” he remarked. “Don’t make him disappear, please.”

It’s not the first time Ng, who was born in Kuala Lumpur and now lives in the United Kingdom, has had a run-in with China’s frequently difficult politics – though on the prior occasion he was chastised for toeing Beijing’s line.

Ng removed a video featuring YouTuber Mike Chen in 2021 when earlier comments made by the Strictly Dumpling host on China’s human rights situation surfaced.

Ng apologised at the time, stating the video “had made a bad social impact” and that he was unaware of Chen’s “political thoughts and incorrect comments about China in the past.”

His attitude sparked widespread outrage among campaigners, who accused him of caving in to Beijing.

censorship in china

Social media censorship in China is a significant aspect of the broader internet censorship framework in the country. The Chinese government actively monitors and controls the content shared on social media platforms to prevent the spread of information it considers sensitive or politically harmful.

Weibo, like other social media platforms in China, is subject to censorship and content regulation by the Chinese government. The Chinese government maintains a strict control over online information and implements various measures to censor content that is deemed sensitive, politically sensitive, or goes against their regulations.

Weibo has a system in place to monitor and filter content posted by its users. This system employs a combination of automated algorithms and human moderators to review and censor content. The platform uses keyword filters to flag and remove posts containing sensitive terms or topics. Additionally, Weibo collaborates with government agencies to enforce content restrictions and ensure compliance with local regulations.

Some common subjects that are often censored on Weibo include political dissent, discussions about human rights issues, criticism of the government, and any content that challenges the official narrative. The censorship extends to various forms of media, including text, images, videos, and live streaming.

When a post is deemed to violate the platform’s guidelines or local regulations, it may be removed, and the user might face consequences, such as temporary or permanent account suspension. Weibo also displays warnings to users who attempt to search or access content that has been censored.

It’s important to recognize that the censorship practices on Weibo and other Chinese platforms are driven by the Chinese government’s desire to control the flow of information and maintain social stability according to their policies and ideology.


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