China Bans Lists That Rank Celebrities By Popularity
Chinese authorities have placed a ban on lists that rank celebrities according to their popularity.
In a bid to ‘clean up’ fame and fandom culture, all existing lists that rank Chinese stars are now required to be removed from the internet, according to regulations recently published in state media.
The only lists allowed by authorities will be lists that rank works such as songs, television shows and films. However, those are also facing some restrictions too.
Ranked songs, films and television programmes will now be required to ‘increase the weight of indicators like work orientation and professional evaluation’, rather than focusing on factors such as likes and comments, The Guardian reports.
The new crackdown on online fan clubs has arisen over concerns around online bullying, which according to The Guardian, China’s internet watchdog has stated as ‘chaotic’ and with ‘adverse affects’ on the ‘mental health of minors’.
The operation targeting such online bases first began on June 15, 2021, when the office of central cyberspace affairs commission announced that it was launching a two-month special operation targeting such fan culture, (known as ‘fan quan’), which it saw as negatively affecting children’s mental health.
On Friday, August 27, it noted the operation had subsequently achieved ‘some results’ through the work of local authorities. However, they announced that such regulations needed to be increased.
By 2020, China’s fan culture was estimated at being worth around $100 billion RMB ($15.6 billion). However, the commission was concerned that children were being subjected to verbal abuse, online bullying and harassment in order to contribute to voting campaigns for celebrities on competitions. They also feared that the online community was fuelling people showing off about their wealth.
Additionally, the commission was also concerned that bots were interfering and rigging social media trends or changing public opinions to boost certain profiles.
The 10-point operation sought to ‘rectify chaos in the fan community’, but also ‘strictly regulate’ the managers of celebrities and people running fan pages, which could stimulate ‘fans to bully each other’. The operation looked at individual celebrities too, to discover any potential financial misconduct or actions which were deemed politically sensitive.
On Friday, regulators fined Zheng Shuang, a Chinese actress, nearly 300 million RMB ($46 million) due to tax evasion. She was also subsequently banned from going onto entertainment programmes and had all current invitations suspended.
Zhao Wei, actress and Fendi brand ambassador, was also ‘deplatformed’ by Chinese authorities. While the reason remains unclear, her name was removed from Chinese TV show My Fair Princess, along with other programmes on major entertainment platforms.
Just last week, after going to Japan to visit the Yasukuni war shrine, actor and singer Zhang Zhehan was ‘deplatformed’. His visit even resulted in urges for a public boycott of his work by China’s Association of Performing Arts. Major brands such as Clinique, Maybelline and Coca-Cola subsequently cut ties with the actor.
If you’ve been affected by bullying and want to speak to someone in confidence, contact Bullying UK (part of Family Lives) on 0808 800 2222. The helpline service is open 9am–9pm Monday to Friday and 10am–3pm Saturday and Sunday
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