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China fines comedy troupe $2m for joke about the military

A Chinese comedy troupe has been slapped with a 14.7m yuan ($2.1m; £1.7m) penalty over a joke about the military that invoked a slogan from President Xi Jinping.

The quip, which likened the behaviour of a comedian's dogs to military conduct, irked authorities.

They said Shanghai Xiaoguo Culture Media Co and comic Li Haoshi had "humiliated the people's army".

The company accepted the penalty and terminated Mr Li's contract.

The offending remark was made during a stand-up performance in Beijing on Saturday, when Mr Li alluded to two canines he had adopted which were chasing a squirrel.

"Other dogs you see would make you think they are adorable. These two dogs only reminded me of... 'Fight to win, forge exemplary conduct'," said Mr Li, whose stage name is House.

The punchline is part of the slogan that President Xi unveiled in 2013 as a goal for the Chinese military.

In an audio recording of the performance shared on China's Twitter-like platform Weibo, audience members can be heard laughing at the joke.

But it was much less welcome on the internet, after a member of the audience complained about it. Beijing authorities said they launched an investigation on Tuesday.


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