Following scandals involving Washington / Taipei-MW stars, China is going through state-backed media bills with “much-needed” reforms একটি a crackdown on the entertainment industry that some analysts hear echoes of the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s and 1970s.
An article posted on China’s super app WeChat in late August hints at what’s coming. Quickly re-posted by major state media outlets such as the People’s Daily and Xinhua News Agency, the headline of the article was “Everyone can feel this reform coming.”
“The Chinese entertainment industry stinks,” it said. “Without reform, not only the entertainment industry, but also the cultural distribution industry, the film and television industries will be destroyed.”
As of September 2, China’s National Radio and Television Administration has issued a new guideline banning artists from engaging in misguided politics, which could protect young people from “bad influences” and “serious pollution” of the “social environment”. The guidelines also advocated for the actors to be “professional, authoritative critics” and to place “political accuracy and socialist values above all forms of art”.
Akio Yata, a one-time Beijing correspondent and head of the Taipei bureau of a conservative Japanese newspaper, told VOA Mandarin that the operation reflected a power struggle between President Xi Jinping and his opponents.
“Shi is creating an atmosphere of terror to suppress those who support capitalism and economic reform,” Yeita said in a phone interview with Via Mandarin. “He is encouraging blind patriotism online. His attempt to arouse hatred of the rich, xenophobia, violence, envy and hatred towards celebrities is similar to that of Cultural Revolution 2.0.
The Cultural Revolution was a decade of political and social ups and downs that began in the 16th century with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and Mao Zedong trying to consolidate power. Millions of professionals, artists and intellectuals were imprisoned, forced on farms or worse.
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The current entertainment industry crackdown was inspired by three scandals involving superstar celebrities, including allegations of child abandonment, rape and tax evasion.
In January, producer Zhang Hen, the ex-husband of megastar actress Zheng Shuang, announced on Weibo, a microblogging platform like China’s Twitter, that he was taking care of two children born to a couple of surrogate couples hired in California.
The couple separated while the surrogates were pregnant, and Zhang complained that his wife had abandoned the children in China, which has long banned surrogacy.
On August 2, authorities fined Zheng 46 46 million for tax evasion. According to the Shanghai tax office, the actress signed a fake contract and evaded taxes by submitting fake documents related to her payment for the TV drama “A Chinese Ghost Story”.
On the same day, all online references about Zhao Wei, another high-paid actress, disappeared. Her work disappeared from video streaming platforms and social media. Her fan clubs have closed, and her name has been haunted by movie and TV show credits.
From luxury brands like Fundy, Zhao invested his acting and endorsement fees so profitably that the Chinese media called him “China’s show-business buffet,” according to Forbes magazine, referring to Warren Buffett, an American investor and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.
Former kindergarten teacher Zhao is said to have been close to Jack Ma, the founder of the multinational tech behemoth Alibaba Group, a Chinese millionaire who has been the victim of harassment against a technology company in Beijing.
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While most observers believe regulators are tightening controls, China is pressuring mothers to cooperate and share consumer-credit data collected by both Ants and Alibaba, which is under exclusive anti-investigation.
On August 1, rape arrested the 60-year-old Chinese-Canadian actor, singer and model Chris Wu Ifan on suspicion of rape when a woman accused him of drinking her 17-year-old drink and raping her at her home.
According to CNN and the BBC, he has vehemently denied the allegations.
“CCP fears independent, authentic human experience that has its own way of understanding and living on earth. Didi Kirsten Tatlow, a senior fellow in the Asia program at the German Council on Foreign Relations in Berlin, told VOA Mandarin via email that it challenges her strength. “The entertainment sector provides many ways to challenge this cultural, or ideological, control, and when people become very popular, they are seen as a threat.”
Tatlo added that “in order to maintain full authority, (CCP) thinks that stories deviating from its own ‘story’ about China need to be stamped out. Basically, the CCP’s ‘story’ demands power. পর্যন্ত In the end, it silences the party’s alternative stories About to do. ”
Some experts say they are not surprised by the crackdown on Beijing’s entertainment industry.
The entertainment industry needs to clean up a lot of things, so the need for reform is not limited to that, ”Jonathan Sullivan, a professor of political science and director of the China program at the University of Nottingham Asia Research University, told VOA Mandarin.
“It’s been going on like this for a long time and the growing measures haven’t done enough damage and so now we have a more specific response,” he told VOA via email. “This probably seems excessive, because it comes at a time when there is a policy crackdown in other sectors between the general and seemingly monotonous forces of society under Shi.”
Sullivan added, “I think it’s completely inappropriate as a reference to ‘turning on celebrities’ or (cultural revolution). The fact of the matter is that celebrities have long been identified as having social influence and have therefore been given a social and moral responsibility. Adding additional policies to do this, advising to behave in a way that uses campaign methods, is a surprising move. ”
Yet when it comes to celebrity culture and fan clubs, according to Sullivan, there are slightly different calculuses, which describe them as more broad and decentralized, thus more difficult to control than the entertainment industry, which is ultimately controlled by the state.
“Fan and celebrity culture has been growing in China over the past few years and it represents a real challenge to dominate the party masses,” Sullivan said. “Any time you have people who command attention and affection on a scale, they’ll come to the crosshair.”
Cool fan club
Fan clubs have been popular in China for the past two decades as the country’s idol economy has prospered. A report released by Beijing-based big data company Endata found that China’s iconic economy grew to ২০ 20 billion in 2020, while celebrity advertising sponsorship grew to $ 27 billion. The report further states that fan clubs mostly attract young women born after 1995 in big cities, half of whom are students.
China’s cyberspace administration has repeatedly criticized fan clubs, accusing them of “luring minors into massive spending, voting on celebrity rankings and inciting young people to cyber bullying.”
On May 8, the Internet watchdog announced a “King Lang” or “Clean and Bright Campaign” to tackle “online problems that are detrimental to young people’s mental health.” The campaign focuses on online fan clubs.
Almost all popular social media companies in China, including Sina Weibo, Tick Talk and Tencent, have publicly announced that they will support the government’s campaign to bring in fan clubs in line with the official state narrative.
Doban, the equivalent of China’s IMDB and Reddit, began publishing weekly censorship announcements in June. On August 20, Duban said, “In the last few days, 0.8 malicious posts have been deleted, 1 rule-breaking account has been deactivated, and 7 problem groups have been taken offline.”
“The environment has changed now. As fans, we have to pay attention to what we say online, ”Tracy Zhang, a member of a fan club in China’s eastern Zhejiang province, told VOA. He told VOA Mandarin to use a pseudonym for fear of being caught.
According to Chinese state media, the campaign to “correct” the fan clubs was fruitful. China’s state-run Xinhua news agency said on August 2 that more than 1.5 million malicious posts had been deleted, 2,000,000 corrupt accounts deleted and 1,300 “problematic” fan groups removed in two months.
A Chengdu resident who spoke to VOA Mandarin on condition of anonymity said he was “joking with friends about which fan club would be the first to set up a Communist Party branch.” Be obedient. Behave. Don’t bother, because it won’t be tolerated. “