BEIJING: A Chinese chef with millions of Weibo followers has apologised for uploading a video of himself cooking egg fried rice, after Chinese netizens accused him of mocking the death of former Chinese leader Mao Zedong’s son.
The video of chef Wang Gang preparing the dish emerged on the Weibo social media platform on Nov 27, two days after the death anniversary of Mao’s eldest son Anying. It has since been deleted.
Mao Anying died in the Korean War in 1950, with controversial rumours that the then 28-year-old was killed by US bombers after he gave away his position when firing up a stove to make egg fried rice.
References to the dish around Mao Anying’s birthday in October, or his death in November, have been commonly viewed as a show of civil disobedience. In 2021, a netizen was detained for 10 days after he posted a comment saying that “the best thing to come out of the Korean War was egg fried rice”.
On Nov 28, Wang “solemnly apologised” in Mandarin in a video posted on X, formerly Twitter.
“As a chef, I’ll never make egg fried rice again or make any videos about it,” he said.
He added that the video was posted online by his team without his knowledge, and that his grandfather, a Korean War veteran, taught him to admit his mistakes and live honestly.
Before his apology, angry netizens took to social media to condemn his egg fried rice video.
“It seems that Wang Gang knows the story of Mao Anying’s death. It’s normal that he didn’t know it the first time. But he didn’t know it the second time? I think he was really mocking Mao Anying,” an X user posted in Chinese.
This is the second time Wang has been in the soup over egg fried rice. He was accused in October 2020 of mocking Mao’s son by posting an egg fried rice recipe. He later apologised.
But some netizens jumped to his defence. An X user posted in Chinese: “It’s pitiful that such an excellent chef who only teaches people how to cook can be criticised like this. It’s really sad.”
The Chinese chef, who is known for cooking Sichuan cuisine, has more than two million subscribers in total on his two YouTube channels.
In a separate incident, Wang faced heavy scrutiny for cooking a critically endangered giant salamander in a YouTube video in 2019. - The Straits Times/ANN