Chinese netizens argue over whether a video violates a new law protecting martyrs

Updated 2018-05-17 15:01:00

The screenshots of the Rage Comic talk show, which some users argue is a violation of a new law that protects the reputation of heroes and martyrs. /Photo via youth.cn

Chinese netizens have accused comedic act, Rage Comic, of violating the country's newly enacted law protecting the reputation and honor of heroes and martyrs, after the comic posted a video depicting Dong Cunrui, a soldier and a heroic figure of the Communist-led armed forces during China's civil war.

China's top legislature passed a law in April, that outlaws activities that defames heroes and martyrs, or distorts and diminishes their deeds. It went into effect on May 1.

The video which was discovered by netizens on Toutiao, a news and information content platform, features Wang Nima, host and editor of Rage Comic, wearing a costume that likened him to Dong Cunrui, a soldier who blew himself up in order to destroy an enemy's bunker in China's civil war.

In the subtitles, the host rhetorically narrates Dong's deeds, in an obvious attempt to amuse the audience.

According to China Youth Daily, the 58-second video was published just days after the country's law to protect the reputation of heroes and martyrs took effect. It has since been removed from the platform.

Netizens have also been flooding the content platform's review system with comments.

"[Rage Comic] is a personal social media account depending on plaigiraism. Right now it has a little popularity on Chinese social networks but [its editor] does not know what he should do. Its videos get tackier than before," wrote user @Rexinshiminxiaozhang on Sina Weibo.

"Just block its account? It's time rule the country by law," said @Yangzhuzhuanyehuz.

"The law took effect on May 1 and you posted this on May 8. What did you mean? How did the platform of [Toutiao] review the video?" wrote a user in the comments section below the video, according to a screenshot by China Youth Daily.

However, some of the show's audience members have come to the comics defense, arguing that people are taking his words out of context.

The host also published a statement on his official Weibo account, saying that the backlash was caused by a misunderstanding the context and stressed that his team is following the law.

Toutiao also posted a statement on Tuesday and said that they will strengthen their review of content and called on the public to supervise the platform for building a clean cyberspace.

It's not the first time Toutiao has been in the spotlight for what some call vulgar or inappropriate content. In April, Toutiao was ordered to remove its app from both Android and Apple app stores. Later, China's media regulator ordered the permanent removal of one of Toutiao's jokes apps. Toutiao CEO was forced to make an apology to the public.

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