At the 2018 Boao Asia Blockchain Conference held in China on May 28, organizers have drawn a round of criticism on social media by arranging a performance of a Mao Zedong impersonator, Reuters reported May 28.

During the conference, an actor dressed in a grey Mao suit gave a speech in the style of the Chairman, wishing success to the audience in an accent from Mao’s birth province of Hunan. He declared:

“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.”

Social media users reacted immediately, with some of them saying the “shameful” disrespect to the Chinese founding father could harm the future of blockchain in China. One of the commentators on WeChat said:

“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.”

In impersonating a former leader of China in a promotional activity, organizers have reportedly broken Chinese law. According to the law, the image of any past or present leader is forbidden from being used in promotional activities and television advertisements. According to the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, actors are forbidden from using the image of a leader to promote a good or service. The organizers of the conference apologized for the performance.

Recently, the Blockchain Industrial Park in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou announced millions of dollars of subsidies for startups, hoping to attract highly-qualified blockchain specialists. Startups will also be able to avail themselves of maintenance grants alongside project-specific funding.

However, according to the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology’s report, only eight percent of the blockchain projects ever launched are still alive, with an average lifespan of just 15 months.