He made fun of the men’s blaster. Then complaints came.

Hong Kong – Yang Li, a comedian, tells jokes about men and their egos.

He is hardly the first in the stand-up world to have such a rich source of material in the world. But Ms. Yang is a comedian in China, where homes and offices still harbor traditional gender roles and where The nascent #MeToo movement has received considerable political and social opposition.

One line in particular sparked fierce online debate: “How can he look so average and still so confident?“A lot of men didn’t find it funny.” And that, Ms. Yang’s many defenders, is exactly the same thing.

In her routine, recorded this summer in an online comedy show, Ms. Yang compared male students with their female counterparts. While female students with high grades often wonder why they can’t score perfectly, Ms. Yang said, some male classmates are surprised by their poor performance.

“You think he owns the whole world,” she said, compared to a male student with female students who score 85 percent or more. “He can press around the room with his exam papers. “Look at me, I got a 40”. I am a fool “”

As videos and other performances of that show spread, some people have pushed back. On Sunday, a group calling itself the defender of men’s rights launched an online campaign aimed at attracting the attention of government censors. It offered a sample letter to be sent to China’s media regulator accusing Ms. Yang of “insulting all men” and “spreading hatred”. The post was later removed amid criticism.

Screenshots of the post are widely circulated, indicating a debate between comedians and fans.

One of Ms. Yang’s most prominent inhibitors is Chu Yin, a professor of law at the University of International Relations in Beijing. He aired his grievances for the first time in September. On Dokin, China’s version of the Tickcock app.

“How special must someone be to be confident of you?” Mr. Chu said. “These average men might not look so good, but maybe you are ugly after washing your makeup.”

Mr. Chu also did a long publication blog post On Tuesday, there are warnings that Ms. Yang’s “bourgeois” gender politics may threaten the unity of the working class. “Such a movement, based on identity politics, will certainly slip into a mobilization of hatred,” he wrote, “hating straight men.”

Women in China are pushing for their rights. Just this month, hundreds of people Gather outside Beijing’s court In support of a former singer who filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against a major TV host, while a pop singer Sang about real-life domestic violence cases On live television. This year, students nationwide have also participated in the grass-roots campaign Remove stigma around menstruation.

But women face obstacles in employment, education, health care, and the justice system, often dismissing those seeking help. Domestic violence.

Ms. Yang’s jokes about over-confident men garnered widespread attention for the first time since her August performance on “Rock and Roast,” a Tencent video web series, with approval from amateur comics judges and audience members Compete for Like other online video platforms in China, Tencent video is regulated by the National Radio and Television Administration.

Ms. Yang responded to some male critics Last week’s special routine, Says, “They think I’m the most disgusting witch in the world. They’ve all suffered because I’ve said, ‘How can you look so average and so confident?’

Neither the National Radio and Television Administration nor Ms. Yang responded to requests for comment. It is unclear whether complaints have been officially filed against her, and whether she will be subject to review.

Ms. Yang has stated in her stand-up routine and interview that she comes from a family of pig farmers in Hebei Province and studied graphic design before gaining fame last year on “Rock and Roast”, which attracted millions of viewers Does.

Ms. Yang Told the Chinese news media She was initially taken aback by the joke she made, which she said contained violent threats. But some male Chinese entertainers have defended Ms. Yang’s right to make jokes, even though they are not laughing to themselves.

“I personally did not enjoy her routine. Parts of it were biased, “Su Jing, a Chinese singer, wrote on Weibo, nearly equal to China Twitter. “But he still must be the place to express himself in stand-up.”

Others say that the defender of his security personnel is expressing the tone.

A famous presenter, Xiao Xiao, quipped on Weibo on Sunday, saying, “Yang Li was wrong: some people were not so confident.”

Jo Wong, A comedian who performed on the American late night show before embarking on a television career in China, praised Ms. Yang’s punch-up jokes. “His material is about men’s blind spots, so perhaps that’s why some don’t find humor in it,” he wrote on Weibo.

On her show last week, Ms. Yang said her supporters angered her critics.

“A joke can only laugh for one reason,” he said. “Because it resonates.”

Claire fu Contributed to research in Beijing.

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