Strict action was taken against “unhealthy” online fan groups by Chinese internet and media regulators even as supporters of pop star Kris Wu flooded Chinese social media platforms to claim that innocence of the singer and to defend him against allegations of rape.
In a recent crackdown against “unhealthy” celebrity fan culture, 1,300 fan groups were shut down while 4,000 online accounts were disabled along with removal of more than 150,000 “toxic” remarks on Chinese social media in an action by the Cyberspace Administration of China, said the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection — the ruling Chinese Communist Party’s disciplinary watchdog.
“The chaos in celebrity fan clubs, exposed by the ‘Kris Wu’ incident, reflects that bad fan culture has reached a critical moment that must be corrected,” the agency said, adding that “fan club” culture is “crazy” and “devil-possessed.”
“We must cut off the black hand of the capital — and curb the wild growth of the entertainment industry,” the agency said.
The criticism of the Chinese government of misused capital and the entertainment industry actually is an extension of a broader tightening of the private sector in the country. The country’s regulators have targeted tech, education and other businesses with fines and restrictions with the increasing emphasis of Chinese President Xi Jinping of the dominant role in every aspect of China’s economy and society of the ruling Communist Party. Private capital have been held responsible by China’s communists – from contributing to risks to data security and education inequality to threatening of social stability.
The scrutiny on celebrity media culture was added on to last week by China’s National Radio and Television Administration — the country’s top media regulator, which said that it would continue a clamp down on celebrity variety shows for a month which, according to the body, was responsible for cultivating “star worshiping”. The regulator however did not provide much detail about how it planned to achieve that.
Earlier this month, Beijing police had detained Wu, one of biggest pop stars of China. The 30-year-old artist has been accused of “repeatedly seducing young women into having sex,” authorities said, and added that that the case was still being investigated,
No comments on the issue have been available so far from Wu’s representatives.
Wu however had last month denied these allegations on his personal Weibo account. At that time, his company has also announced that it was pursuing legal action against a woman who accused him of assault, calling the accusations “malicious rumors.”
A social media firestorm was triggered in China by the incident. While expressing support, many on Chinese social media also expressed thanks to a woman who had alleged last month, under the verified handle “Du Meizhu,” that she was sexually assaulted by Wu when she was 17.
However, a large number of Wu’s fans came out in his defense on Chinese social media. Brands were urged by the fans to give Wu “another chance.”
The disciplinary agency held up several examples of what it described as extreme action from fans, including calls to fundraise for Wu’s legal proceedings or break him out of detention.
A two-month online campaign against “unhealthy” celebrity fan culture would be launched by it, the CAC also announced in a statement.
(Adapted from CNN.com)