British-Malaysian comedian Uncle Roger has had his social media accounts in China suspended amid a crackdown by authorities on comics making fun of the authoritarian government.
The comedian, whose real name is Nigel Ng, said over the weekend that his accounts on Bilibili and Weibo, where he has 400,000 followers, had been suspended due to a “violation of relevant laws and regulations”.
Both Ng and his followers suggested it was due to a clip he had posted on western social media days earlier. The clip, a promo for an forthcoming show, was posted to his Twitter account with the caption “Uncle Roger about to get cancelled”. He reposted it to YouTube a few days later. The two clips have been viewed more than 8m times.
In the video clip, taken from an undated standup show, Ng, in character as Uncle Roger, asks an audience member where he comes from. The man replies that he comes from “Guangzhou, China”, to which Ng makes a face and responds “Good country! Good country!”
“We have to say that now, correct? All the phones listening … this nephew got Huawei phone, they all listening,” he goes on to add.
Ng then taps his phone in his pocket carefully and says: “long live President Xi, long live President Xi … phew.”
He then looks for audience members from Taiwan.
“Not a real country. I hope one day you rejoin the motherland,” he says, prompting laughter from the audience.
Ng, who is not in China, has not specifically commented on the account suspension. Early on Monday he reposted the video to Twitter, saying: “for some reason this clip got a ton of views this past weekend. I wonder why”, and provided a pre-order link to his forthcoming show.
Ng is the latest high-profile comedian who appears to have been targeted in a crackdown by Chinese authorities on comedians. Those in the country face severe punishment, and recent events have cast a chill over the industry.
Earlier this month Li Haoshi, known by the stage name House, was arrested over a joke which authorities said made fun of the People’s Liberation Army, an act which was criminalised in 2021. Li could face three years in prison. Police also detained a woman who posted online in support of Li.