Chinese social media site Weibo bans K-Pop fan accounts amid celebrity crackdown



If you’re going after K-Pop fans, you must be feeling pretty invincible.

Chinese social media network Weibo has banned 22 fan accounts dedicated to Korean groups, including BTS and Blackpink, as part of a broader government crackdown on celebrity fan culture.

The latest action comes after a BTS fan account, which had 1.1 million members, was crowdfunded for a stunt to celebrate Park Jimin’s 26th birthday. According to Al-Jazeera, the group raised $ 211,000 in three minutes and $ 508,000 in one hour.

The money was used to wrap an entire Jeju Air plane with Jimin’s image and a celebratory message.

Weibo said it was suspending the account for 60 days for alleged illegal fundraising and also what it called “irrational star-hunting behavior,” according to the New York Times.

Shortly after, Weibo suspended 21 other fan accounts for 30 days. Between accounts, millions of fans have been caught up in the crackdown.

Weibo’s move comes as the Chinese government turned its attention to celebrities and pop culture as part of a series of social checks to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party.

Last week, the government’s National Radio and Television Administration issued a series of decrees that tightened controls on television content it deemed “unhealthy”. It included a ban on what he considers “effeminate men”, criticizing male actors who wore “excessive” makeup.

The ban also extended to reality TV shows that screen out contestants, unless the vote was taken by a live audience, and TV talent scouting contests or “idol audition shows. “who were preparing the next generation of stars.

BTS has a legion of fans all over the world, including China.  Photo / Getty Images
BTS has a legion of fans all over the world, including China. Photo / Getty Images

He urged television programs that would promote socialist, traditional or patriotic values ​​and that actors and celebrities with “bad” political or moral values ​​should not be included in the projects.

He also hit “vulgar Internet” celebrities for condemning online fan culture as “chaotic.” Previously, the government had banned online celebrity rankings.

The government has also limited online video game time for people under the age of 18 to one hour per day on Fridays, weekends and holidays.

Chinese celebrities have become a target for a government that appears to be seeking a throwback to modern pop culture and fandoms.

Actor and billionaire Zhao Wei, who first broke in the late 1990s, has seen his online presence cleaned up in China. Her TV shows and movies have been removed from all online platforms, her fan pages have been removed, and hashtags relating to her have also been censored.

Zhao Wei's work has been wiped from the Internet in China.  Photo / Getty Images
Zhao Wei’s work has been wiped from the Internet in China. Photo / Getty Images

No official reason has been given for Zhao Wei’s “cancellation”, but she is an associate of Jack Ma, the billionaire tech entrepreneur who disappeared from public view for several months last year in the midst of ‘government crackdown on the technology sector.

Other celebrities caught in the net of government crackdown include Zheng Shuang, who was fined $ 64 million for tax evasion, and Zhang Zhehan who had his work erased from the internet after an old photo. of him posing in a Japanese shrine has resurfaced.

International star Fan Bingbing was the first high profile actor to be targeted in 2018 when she disappeared from public view for four months. She was then required to reimburse $ 98 million in unpaid taxes.

State broadcaster CCTV said last week: “For quite some time now, artists’ moral failures and violations of the law, the cultivation of younger idols and chaotic fandoms have attracted the attention of society. “.


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