On May 28, at the 2018 Boao Asia Blockchain Conference held in China, organizers have been experiencing a social media backlash for arranging a performance that featured a Mao Zedong impersonator.
It was reported that during the conference, an actor dressed in Mao’s typical grey attire gave a speech in his style and native Hunan accent, wishing the audience success.
“You are worthy of being called the great sons and daughters of the Chinese nation, and I thank you in the name of Mao Zedong,” declared the actor.
Social media responded immediately to this stunt, many criticising and finding this to be a “shameful” display that could damage the future of blockchain in China. One of the WeChat users commented that:
“Blockchain is a fledgling business that warrants the attention and open attitude from the government, and we will not tolerate any scam behavior that disrupts industry order in the name of blockchain.”
By using an impersonation of the former leader of China to promote their activity, organizers have reportedly broken the law. The Chinese law states that the image of any past or present leader cannot be used under any circumstance in promotional activities and television advertisements.
As stated by the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, actors are forbidden from portraying a leader to endorse a good or service. The organizers of the conference expressed regret for the presentation.
Lately, the Blockchain Industrial Park in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou declared that it will allocate millions of dollars in grants to startups, in an effort to attract expert blockchain specialists. Startups will also be able to make use of maintenance grants along with project-specific subsidy.
But, according to a report made by the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, only eight percent of the blockchain projects ever launched are still operating, most of them managing to survive on average just 15 months.