Xi Jinping fights against the army of fans in the fight against celebrity culture

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China politics and policy updates

The Chinese fan dedicated to Park Jimin, one of the seven members of the South Korean boy group BTS, is one of the latest victims of President Xi Jinping’s cleanup of Chinese youth culture.

After the crowdfunding campaign raised enough funds to put a star image on a commercial aircraft, Jimin’s unofficial Chinese fan site was suspended for two months.

The group also plans to buy an advertisement featuring the star in the New York Times newspaper, complete with dangling earrings, lipstick and smoky eyeshadow.

The crackdown by the censorship comes as the Chinese authorities have embarked on a task to resolve the “chaos” caused by fanaticism, an attack on the millions of devout followers of Asian celebrities gathered in informal groups online.

The movement is part of a wider crusade Chinese entertainment industry This has targeted several outstanding stars, including attacks on the so-called weak styles and fashion choices of young men.

However, experts say that as China begins to fully restore the party and state’s control over the country, the organizational tendencies and effective social actions of fan groups are the main concerns of the Xi Jinping government. Technical, Business with culture landscape.

“They see the potential for organization and mobilization. For the government, this is a very big problem,” said Jiang Yun, an expert on China and a former Australian government policy adviser, who now works at the Australian National University.

“Why do they want to crack down on’cults’ like Falun Gong? It’s not just because they have religious beliefs. They could have turned a blind eye to this. But once they started to mobilize, when they appeared in Tiananmen Square, they really started to suppress it. Time,” she added, referring to Protests in 1999 This led to the internal organs of the group in China.

This week, Weibo, one of China’s largest Internet platforms, suspended 22 social accounts operated by K-pop fans, calling it “irrational star-chasing behavior.”

The Chinese Embassy in Seoul defended China’s actions by saying: “[The campaign] Targeting words and deeds that are contrary to public order and good customs, and that violate laws and regulations. “

Fans of BTS-a loose collective called the “army”-are examples of a large number of unleaded groups that spontaneously organize a movement. Usually, the activities of the group are dedicated to celebrating or honoring the band or individual members.

But in the U.S., these groups are becoming more and more politicized and show cunning abilities Internet political activismLast year, K-pop fans disrupted Trump’s rally by organizing large-scale pre-registrations without showing up.

© Leah Millis/Reuters

The BTS “army” also raised funds to support the “Black People’s Fate” campaign, and helped stop the police from collecting data on protesters by flooding the police website with celebrity pictures and videos.

In order to control fan behavior and transfer responsibility to companies — not regulators — Chinese authorities are now putting pressure on celebrity agencies and media production companies.

In recent months, Beijing’s cyberspace regulator has been trying to “create a clean Internet environment for celebrity Internet users.” Officials have removed more than 150,000 pieces of content that they call “harmful information” from online platforms and online platforms. Deleted show Focus on celebrity rankings.

These measures have also rekindled nationalist enthusiasm. Zhang Zhehan is an example of these goals.The 30-year-old actor appeared on the Internet for his 4-year-old photo showing him near Tokyo Controversial Yasukuni Shrine, Where the remains of Japanese soldiers, including war criminals, are buried.

Chinese officials are dissatisfied with the outstanding performance of male celebrities who have shown less traditional male tendencies.The so-called weak fashion and style trends originate from the influential music, film and TV scenes in Seoul, where young people Embrace beauty products and beauty solutions It was once restricted to women.

Within China’s creative industries, some people have warned that repression, especially concerns about retroactive penalties and rapidly changing allowable content standards, is having a profound chilling effect on the country’s artists and media professionals.

“As early as 2008, the joke was: No matter what you did, if today is illegal, don’t worry, because tomorrow will be legal. And now, of course, this has been completely reversed,” said a person who asked not to be named. Chinese professionals said.

“Everyone is scared. The warning is that even if it is legal today, it may become illegal tomorrow.”

However, Cecilia Yau, who is in charge of PwC’s entertainment and media business in China, downplayed the seriousness of Beijing’s efforts.

She said that companies in China’s “mature creative ecosystem” are already good at carefully managing artists and producing content that meets the rapidly changing standards of regulators.

Yau added that Beijing’s “conservative attitude” towards male body image is like Nearest stenosis Reduce children’s time to play online games and get public support. “If you look at their policies, it’s actually a response to most people,” she said.

Seoul anthropologist and Asian youth culture expert Hyun-joo Mo said that in some ways, Chinese entertainment companies are paying the price for trying to replicate the growth of the Korean K-pop and K-beauty “image industry”.

Take Kris Wu as an example. This Canadian Chinese K-pop star used to be Detained by Beijing police Regarding the allegations of sexual assault last month, Mo said that China is experiencing similar problems, which stem from narcissism and misogyny. Industries that trouble Seoul. These go beyond what the celebrities face and extend to their millions of fans. Often toxic internet culture.

“The K-pop industry and K-pop culture have serious mental health problems,” she added.

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