Beijing: A popular host of state-run CCTV has been suspended and put under investigation after a video emerged in which he was seen making fun of Mao Zedong, the founder of the ruling Communist Party of China.
Bi Fujian, who for long hosted popular cultural and entertainment shows on China Central Television (CCTV), reportedly made fun of Mao and criticised the late leader at a private dinner in April this year, saying that he led people to misery, state-run Global Times reported.
The video recording of his remarks went viral online, sparking strong reactions from public.
The TV host severely breached political discipline after he was exposed in a video making disrespectful remarks? against Mao, said the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT).
A SAPPRFT statement said authorities are highly concerned with the case of Bi making fun of the former State leader.
It also said that the authorities think that Bi's violation is more serious than general misconduct.
The SAPPRFT has ordered CCTV to "seriously handle" the case, and to warn its staff from repeating the mistakes.
After the video sparked an intense online debate, CCTV announced that Bi would be suspended for four days, pending investigation, and the matter would be handled "seriously," as his remarks had had a "major social impact," the paper reported.
Bi has been replaced by another host in a talent show he used to host on CCTV, according to news portal sina. Com.Cn.
Meanwhile, Bi has issued an apology, saying, "I feel guilty and sorry for my comments which left a negative impact on society. I hereby offer to the public my deepest regrets. As a public figure, I have learned my lesson and will observe self- discipline."