China bans comedian Uncle Roger over series of jokes

A Malaysian comedian has had his Chinese social media account suspended after poking fun at China in one of his shows.

Nigel Ng, who goes by the name Uncle Roger, is better known for mocking attempts at Asian cooking by Western chefs.

But the 32-year-old is now the latest comedian to feel the consequences of making jokes at the expense of China, amid increasingly intense censorship and rising nationalism.

It comes after a Chinese comedian became the subject of a police investigation last week for making a joke about stray dogs.

Last Thursday, Ng posted a video clip from an upcoming comedy special in which he pokes fun at Chinese surveillance and Beijing’s claims of sovereignty over Taiwan.

It shows the comedian interacting with someone in the audience who said he was from Guangzhou, a metropolis in China’s south.

“Good country, good country, we have to say that now, correct?” Ng says. “All the phones listening.”

More on China

Read more:
Abandoned camps hint at dark future for China’s Uyghur people
Taiwan says China is getting ready to ‘launch a war’

He then jokes with members of the audience who said they’re from Taiwan, a self-governed island claimed by China, saying Taiwan is not a real country.

“I hope one day you rejoin the motherland. One China,” he said.

Following his comments, Ng’s Weibo account said on Monday that he was banned from posting for “violating relevant laws and regulations”.

His agency did not respond to a request for comment.

Meanwhile, Chinese comedian Li Haoshi is facing prison time as police and government departments investigate him for a joke he made at a performance earlier this month.

Beijing police announced last week that they were looking into the star “for severely insulting” the People’s Liberation Army.

Li, who goes by the stage name HOUSE, joked about stray dogs by riffing on a well-known propaganda slogan used to describe the Chinese military.

He said he had adopted two dogs which were very energetic when they chased after squirrels, shooting off like artillery shells after a target.

The comedian said that while most dogs were cute, his dogs remind him of the Chinese phrase, “Able to win battles, with first-rate style.”

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player


China calls the G7 a ‘clique’

According to the China Media Project, which studies Chinese media, the phrase was first used around 10 years ago by Chinese leader Xi Jinping to describe planned reforms for the Chinese military.

In a statement last week, a government department known as Beijing’s Comprehensive Team of Law Enforcement on Cultural Market said it had received tips from the public about Li’s performance on 13 May.

In response, it said it had launched an investigation into the company the comedian is signed with.

Chinese police said they would fine the company, Xiao Guo Wenhua, for around 13.3 million yuan (£1.6m). The company did not respond to a request for comment.

An officer who did not give his name at Beijing’s police headquarters declined to say whether Li was under detention or arrest, saying the investigation was continuing and the results would be publicised accordingly.