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November 27, 2010

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Zhou fails to amuse with toilet comments

SHANGHAI stand-up comedian Zhou Libo has found that blogging on the Internet is no laughing matter. His recent remarks on weibo, China's equivalent of twitter, has sparked anger and condemnation after he called the Internet "a public toilet."

"The Internet is a place for netizens to throw their private shit, and when all private ones get together, it becomes public shit and the Internet is actually a public toilet," he wrote in response to the people who criticized his comments on the high-rise inferno in the city's Jing'an District.

While most online comments showed sympathy for the victims and some displayed anger toward the fire authorities, Zhou had expressed his appreciation of the high efficiency of the government and firefighters.

Zhou won citywide fame in late 2008 with his "Shanghai-Style Clean Talk," a form distinct from the usual comedy shows in which off-color jokes or heavy-handed clownish humor were not uncommon. Fans also liked him for his sarcastic imitation of and jokes about world leaders, and many considered him a worthy representative of Shanghai culture.

They were disappointed at his comments about the disaster, calling it flattering to authorities, and a strange thing for Zhou to have done.

They got even more upset seeing Zhou's response to their criticism, the entry about a "public toilet."

One blogger reported that Zhou lost 200,000 fans on weibo within one day after the "toilet" entry.

Zhou kept arguing with his critics on his weibo page for nearly 14 hours, using phrases such as "those of you bitches who scream on the Internet are poor losers in real life" or "I have used and donated much more money than you can ever imagine, so you have no right to talk about money with me."

Some of his controversial entries and critical comments were later deleted. The comment function of his page was also closed for a few hours.

"I did delete some of my entries, not because they were controversial, but only to edit some phrases. And I have never deleted any comments or closed the comment function at all," Zhou said.

"I'm responsible for all my Internet language and I don't regret any lines I have entered on the Internet at all."

Weibo is becoming increasingly popular in China with many celebrities opening their own pages.


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