YouTuber Mike Chen has urged fellow comic Nigel Ng to do “his own research” on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) after the comedian behind the “Uncle Roger” persona apologised to Chinese fans and deleted a video collaboration over Chen’s critical stance on Beijing.

Chen told HKFP that Ng had not notified him before issuing the apology on Weibo and taking down the video. He added that he had not agreed to removing the clip, which remains available elsewhere on Facebook.

"Uncle Roger" and Mike Chen.
“Uncle Roger” and Mike Chen. Photo: Screenshot.

Ng issued an apology on China’s twitter-like Weibo on Tuesday for creating a “bad social impact” with the video after multiple users reported it. He also said that he was not aware of Chen’s “incorrect remarks” about China prior to their collaboration.

“I think the comments he’s referring to is my post on the 21st anniversary of the massacre at Tiananmen Square, something the CCP tries hard to cover up and erase,” Chen said. “For the record, I stand by all the comments I’ve made about the CCP.”

Chen also appealed to Malaysian-born Ng to “see for himself” if Chen’s remarks were “really ‘incorrect’.”

“I do hope that Nigel does his own research on the CCP, and sees for himself if my remarks on China are really ‘incorrect.’ Living in the UK grants him that basic freedom, something not afforded to the millions under CCP rule.”

Last year, Ng shot to fame and gained over three million YouTube subscribers as his orange polo shirt-wearing Asian “uncle” caricature went viral reviewing cookery videos.

‘Disappointed in you’

Netizens had also reacted strongly to Ng’s apology, with many criticising him for apparent self-censorship.

“Never expect much from Uncle Roger but still a bit disappointed to see how low he can go for the Chinese market,” said a Twitter user, urging others to unsubscribe from Ng’s YouTube channel.

“How’s the taste of Chinese Money?” Another user said.

“Unsubscribe quickly, Uncle Roger has to concentrate on entering China,” said a netizen on LIHKG, a local forum in Hong Kong.

Others have remarked on the possible reason behind Ng’s quick response and apology.

“Maybe there’s some collaboration with a Chinese brand or platform in the works that Ng is afraid of compromising,” wrote journalist James Griffiths on Twitter, who penned a book on censorship in China. “On his Weibo apology, most of the comments are people confused about what he’s even talking about, which would seem to suggest that this was pushed by a Chinese partner, not social media backlash.”

Chen, who has faced criticism from pro-China netizens for being a Falun Gong practitioner, said he held “no animosity” against Ng, and “it’s not an easy thing to stand up to the CCP and I get that.”

“[B]ecause of their money and influence, not many dare to speak up against them. I know I have a small platform but I will always do what I can to give a voice to those who do not but are desperately in need of one,” he said

Mike Chen in Hong Kong
Mike Chen’s visit to Hong Kong in 2019. Photo: Screenshot.

Chen also cited multiple examples such as the 1989 Tiananmen massacre, the Chinese government’s treatment of Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang, as well as Beijing’s alleged cover-up of the severity of the coronavirus pandemic and crackdown in Hong Kong.

“I do want to emphasize, I LOVE China. China is a place of rich beautiful history, kind hearted people and a place I wish I could go back to every single day. The Chinese Communist Party is not equal to China itself and certainly does not represent the good Chinese people,” he added.

HKFP has reached out to Ng for comment.

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Candice is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. She previously worked as a researcher at a local think tank. She has a BSocSc in Politics and International Relations from the University of Manchester and a MSc in International Political Economy from London School of Economics.