China vs Kpop: new laws target fandoms and “effeminate image of men” in repression


The Chinese Cyberspace Administration has announced that it is implementing additional measures to curb the “fandom chaos.” As part of the announcement, China’s largest social networking platform, Weibo, conducted a regulated cleanup of the thousands of fan cafes and spam accounts on its platform.

Weibo also closed toxic accounts that support idols who have been charged with criminal acts; he also tried to block fans from posting ads to advocate reasonable celebrity support and to keep order in the Weibo community.

Fan culture has become very competitive and sometimes fans are encouraged to do unreasonable things for their favorite idols. Some fans reported to Weibo in April that an account launched a crowdfunding event for a custom aircraft to support BTS’s Jimin. Since the event was outsourced, fans posted the results of the event to Weibo.

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K-pop fan accounts closed on Chinese social media platform Weibo (Jean Chung / Getty Images)

Weibo statement

According to Weibo, “The content of the message included elements of inducement and comparison, which is a serious problem. We immediately banned the posting of the Jimin Bar account for 60 days and removed any associated posts. Weibo’s statement went on to say that they, as a community, were strictly against irrational celebrity support and were prepared to take serious action against these fans.

In its statement, Weibo said, “Once an act of celebrity support is determined to be irrational, we will take it seriously. We will continue to make periodic announcements on the measures taken. We all have to work hard together to clean up the fandoms; our users are welcome to give us advice and comments on this matter.

Not only these, but many other over-the-top projects planned by Chinese fans are also going to be monitored, curtailed if deemed irrational, and banned if they meddle with China’s new fan culture policy.

Fan cafes that indulge in irrational celebrity worship will be banned in China (Drew Angerer / Getty Images)

Irrational fandom culture will be halted in China

This policy sees “irrational celebrity worship” as a dangerous threat to Chinese ideology. The policy can already be seen going into effect since August 2021, when numerous Weibo fan accounts and fan cafes in favor of Kris Wu after his arrest despite rape charges came to light. The Chinese government’s strong restrictions on celebrities and fandoms began after a “milk incident” in May 2021. At that time, fans of an idol audition program threw away 270,000 cartons of milk. containing a voting QR code to encourage their favorite intern.

After that, the National Cyber ​​Information Office (CAC) warned that idol fandoms would be heavily regulated for irrational behavior. As Chinese President Xi Jinping enforced the Food Waste Ban Law in August last year, the milk waste affair was taken seriously and the entertainment program responsible for it was suspended. .

Additionally, in August 2021, the ACC deleted more than 150,000 posts, including articles, photos and videos, and closed 4,000 associated accounts in a crackdown on idol fan clubs. Announcement of celebrity popularity rankings, spending money to support underage celebrities, and paid voting for entertainment programs have also since been banned.

Fans who spend huge amounts of money on celebrities will be banned from social media in China (Jean Chung / Getty Images)

Blacklist of celebrities with international citizenship

Not only that, but the policy will allow the government to blacklist celebrities of foreign nationality who have earned “excessively high incomes”, allegedly with the help of tax evasion, artists with “incorrect political positions” and men who were insufficiently masculine in relation to their TV shows and films to the public.

Singaporean actor Jet Li is reportedly blacklisted by Beijing. For this reason, two Hong Kong celebrities, Nicholas Tse, who grew up in Canada, and Macau-born TV host, Maria Cordero, who grew up in Hong Kong, recently announced that they would give up their foreign passports. .

Singaporean actor Jet Li is said to be blacklisted from shows in China because of his foreign nationality (Jesse Grant / Getty Images for Disney)

Beauty standards and play policy

Regarding the liberal beauty standards promoted by K-pop idols, the Chinese authorities have also announced that they will set a correct beauty standard among their people. Regarding this standard, authorities have called for a boycott of male “sissy” idols who wear cosmetics and do not conform to Chinese macho stereotypes.

This policy has re-established that the effeminate image of man is a “threat to society” and that there must be a stronger promotion of “traditional Chinese culture, the culture of revolution, the socialist culture”. For this reason, strong action was immediately taken and many Chinese reality shows that were massively popular across the country were banned over the past week. In order to ensure that citizens are not negatively influenced by broadcasters who propagate political literacy, moral rationality and social conscience, the policy will also put an end to artists who have caused social controversy by committing illegal acts. Abnormal voting of hearing programs has also come under severe restrictions.

Mark dons a skirt for GQ China which can now be banned due to the implementation of a new policy (@ marktuan / Instagram, @ withyoumarktuan / Twitter)

Effect on K-pop

Due to the implementation of this policy, Chinese authorities are tightly regulating fandom activities to curb rabid fandom culture. China’s largest music platform, Tencent QQ Music, has banned anyone from buying the same digital single or album twice. Although the measure is limited to digital music purchases, it can be expected that sanctions against the purchase of physical albums are also likely.

Total exports of K-pop albums to the world in July this year increased 3.6 times year-on-year to 30.7 billion won ($ 26 million). Sales from China alone reached $ 8.25 million, the largest amount on record.

Because of these numbers, Chinese authorities aim to curb this toxic fan culture by banning the physical sale of albums and merchandise and ensuring that a huge amount of money is not spent on something. as insignificant as celebrities. This change in the buying model already became evident when one of Blackpink’s biggest China fan pages for Lisa announced via her official Twitter account that she was unable to purchase large quantities. albums due to stricter regulations by the authorities. This policy will negatively affect the Korean music industry, as China is the biggest consumer of K-pop products and albums.

China’s New Entertainment Policy Shows Narrow Drop in Share Rates of Big 3 K-Pop Agencies (YG Entertainment, SM Entertainment, JYP Entertainment, HYBE Labels)

Major entertainment companies affected

Besides sales and fan-culture statistics, another statistic that has been affected by Chinese policy is that of Korean agency stocks. The Chinese State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) also issued the “Directive on Increasing Monitoring of Entertainment Programs and Their Personnel,” on September 2, prohibiting groups from effeminate boys to star in talented idol shows aired on television networks and internet platforms.

Chinese authorities have said that these regulations are aimed at eliminating immoral performers who commit illegal activities, and TV stations will choose actors and singers based on their political sophistication, moral conduct, and social valuation.

A day after SARFT’s announcement, the stock prices of Korea’s three representative K-pop companies all fell. YG Entertainment saw its price drop 2.54%, SM Entertainment saw its stock drop 1.94% and JYP Entertainment saw its price drop 1.57%. Keyeast, a management agency specializing in comedians, also saw its share price fall by 4% on the same day.

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