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China’s Foul-Mouthed Web Superstar Papi Jiang Rapped by Censors

BEIJING — One of China’s biggest Internet stars has been warned that her wildly popular online videos will be permanently removed if she can't stop being a potty-mouth.

Jiang Yilei, who goes by the online moniker "Papi Jiang," has become an online sensation with her own brand of rapid-fire comic video blogs poking fun at everyday topics such as dating, family relationships and entertainment news.

Since launching her series in October, the 29-year-old drama graduate from Shanghai has amassed 11 million followers on micro-blogging site Sina Weibo. Her video channel on China’s YouTube-like service Youku has 100 million views.

This success has reportedly led to her getting $1.85 million in funding from Chinese venture capitalists, according to Tech in Asia magazine.

Image: Papi Jiang
Papi Jiang channel on Weibo. weibo.com

While Papi Jiang has stayed away from politically sensitive topics, her fast-paced videos ran afoul of Internet regulators because of excessive foul language, state media reported.

State-run newspaper Global Times said Papi Jiang had used bad language 54 times in one video. The Communist Party’s leading publication, People’s Daily, said Jiang had been “disciplined and corrected” for her language.

Jiang posted Monday on her Weibo account, thanking fans for their support and pledging to comply with the request to clean up her language, saying she is “a person who is willing and happy to accept criticism.”

The reprimand was likely dished out by the deeply unpopular State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television. SAPPRFT not only runs campaigns to expunge foul language and pornographic websites from China’s internet, but also works to remove comments and articles that are deemed derogatory to the government.

Authorities appear to have allowed Papi Jiang to continue posting her work — she recently published a new video about weight loss — but her older clips appear to have been taken down.

Online reaction to the removals was overwhelmingly negative.

“Papi Jiang, we support you, you don’t need to correct anything,” wrote one user on her Weibo page. “You did nothing wrong.”

SAPPRFT and to Papi Jiang did not respond to requests for comment.