It’s no secret that Chinese tech leaders have a thing for stage props, but obviously, some Chinese tech conferences have little sense of what’s in good taste and what’s not.

The organizer of blockchain conference Boao Block Chain Forum for Asia stirred a countrywide outcry after inviting an actor playing Chairman Mao to congratulate and wish the event success at the opening remark, (in Chinese).

In his speech, the typecast actor addressed in Mao’s signature Hunan accent, saying that “I sincerely wish this conference great success… and I want to thank you in the name of Mao Zedong.”

With this move, the organizer may have violated Chinese laws which prohibit the use of the images, calligraphy and any other form of representation of former national leaders in the promotion of commercial products or promotional activities. In a previous crackdown, images of Winnie the Pooh were blocked in China for its likeness with Chairman Xi Jinping,

The consequence of this hype is instant. A widely circulated photo shows that the name of the conference’s VIP dinner was removed from a poster, which could be seen as an urgent move by the sponsor to eliminate negative impact for supporting the conference.

“We are sorry for the negative impact our conference had on the public, and we will continue to execute the conference with high standards,” says the organizer in an official apology.

This is only one in a series of silly incidents that made recent headlines, such as cross-dressing cheerleader marketing their product at blockchain conference held at a Macau casino and attendees meditating at a Buddhism blockchain forum.

Emma Lee (Li Xin) was TechNode's e-commerce and new retail reporter until June 2022, when she moved to Sixth Tone to cover technology and consumption. Get in touch with her via or Twitter.

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.