China comes down hard on celebrity culture and fandom


Beijing has been increasing its crackdown on both celebrities and their fans through regulators saying that online groups are responsible for creating “chaos.” They say that these celebrities promote “extravagant pleasure” to their fans. On Tuesday, the Cyberspace Administration of China released a set of rules that would curb celebrities as well as advertising and fan groups related to them. This is a part of a drive to reform social values in China led by its president Xi Jinping.

The new rules could ban pages run by fans. Professional celebrity agents are expected to manage celebrities. There will be a limit imposed on the number of times celebrities as well as the works or products associated with them can appear on webpages. Celebrities are also forbidden from publishing false or private information. Their actions should not provoke fan groups against each other nor can they spread rumors.

They also seek to curb the problems that arise from fandom as millions follow celebrities and gather together as fan armies online. Online platforms in the country cannot promote celebrities who have been implicated in illegal or unethical behavior. There can be no comeback for celebrities, after being publicly disgraced.

In August Beijing released a list of “misbehaving celebrities.” Prominent stars including 45-year old Zhao Wei have been censored. Thirty-year old Zheng Shuang has also been targeted was fined $46 million for tax evasion. Producers have been told to boycott the star as the administration had said that she cannot be hired for future shows. Another popular celebrity who has lost celebrity status was Canadian-Chinese pop star Kris Wu. Earlier this year, the star had been arrested on the suspicion of rape.

Experts say that Beijing is concerned about the capabilities of these groups to organize themselves and take social action. Authorities want to have a larger amount of control on cultural industries. However, others also say that they might not be able to curb celebrity activity as much as they would want to.

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