China Just Banned 88 Influencers, Including Disgraced Pop Idol Kris Wu

It appears the number eight isn’t always a lucky one...

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Jesse Pottinger
Nov 25, 2021 1 mins read

The China Association of Performing Arts recently blacklisted 88 celebrities and livestreamers for “bad behaviors,” including breaking the law and having a harmful impact on society.

The November 23 announcement lists 85 livestreamers and three celebrities: Zheng Shuang, Zhang Zhehan, and Wu Yifan (known professionally as Kris Wu), each embroiled in their own highly publicized scandal.

Wu, a Canadian national who rose to stardom with K-pop groups EXO and EXO-M before his breakout solo career, was arrested in August following accusations of rape and sexual misconduct by several women, some of whom were underage.

Actor Zhang Zhehan drew criticism earlier this year after photos resurfaced online of him posing at Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine, a monument to Japan’s war dead that honors Japanese war criminals. At the same time, actress Zheng Shuang has faced backlash for simultaneous scandals involving tax evasion and the abandonment of her surrogate children.

This is the ninth list of people to be released by the association since the aptly named ‘blacklist management system’ was established in 2018.

Zheng Shuang

Zheng Shuang

A spokesperson for the association told state-backed publication People’s Daily that 446 livestreamers have been added to the ‘list of shame’ (as we’ve dubbed the blacklist) over the past two years. The list bars the entertainers from using or appearing on livestreaming platforms like Douyin, China’s version of TikTok.

The notice cited the need to prevent “celebrities who violated the law or ethical standards from rebranding themselves on other platforms” and to “purify the environment of the online entertainment industry.”

Speaking with People’s Daily, the spokesperson said the lack of morality and understanding of the law among certain livestreamers presents a risk to Chinese youth and society. He noted that concerns include the use of pornography and vulgarity for clicks and livestreamers’ ability to stoke conflict between fans.

The latest announcement follows months of heightened government scrutiny toward China’s celebrities and livestreamers, beginning with the February release of moral guidelines for online personalities.

The state also denounced the rise of “sissy boys”: men perceived to be overly effeminate or otherwise lacking in normative masculinity. One official report even blamed the CIA for the increase in “feminine male artists.”

All images via Depositphotos

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