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TV show faces probe over claims singer CoCo Lee was mistreated

By Cao Yin | China Daily | Updated: 2023-08-22 07:02

This file photo taken on Dec 17, 2011 shows CoCo Lee in Beijing, China. [Photo by Zou Hong/chinadaily.com.cn]

Zhejiang Media Group announced it will launch an investigation into its television series Sing! China after a viral audio clip claimed that the late pop diva CoCo Lee was mistreated on the Chinese talent show.

The announcement was posted by the media group on its official website on Sunday evening, which said it had noted complaints and opinions from viewers and netizens about the show, which is broadcast on Zhejiang Satellite TV.

While pledging to strengthen supervision of the show, the media group also said that it would urge the program's producer — a company registered in Shanghai — to maintain fairness and justice so that every participant is respected.

The announcement mentioned renowned singer-songwriter Lee, who died at the age of 48 on July 5.It underlined that she was a good mentor on the show, as well as a good singer who people will remember.

The announcement came after a nine-minute audio clip went viral on Chinese social media over the past week, in which, Lee expressed her anger over a decision. She asked why one contestant faced elimination, while another contestant with lower marks was given a second chance to appear in the next round.

The widely viewed clip triggered outrage about the fairness of the show, with some topics viewed and discussed thousands of times.

As of Monday, a post titled "Exposure of CoCo Lee's complaint on Sing! China" was the top trending topic on microblogging platform Sina Weibo having been viewed more than 2.65 billion times and discussed about 386,000 times.

On Thursday evening, the show's production team reacted to the clips via its Weibo account, claiming some netizens had deliberately edited the audio of Lee complaining about the show.

The team said it strongly condemned the behavior, pointing out that "it's disrespectful to the deceased and also damages the show's image".

It said it approved of Lee's efforts on the show, adding that the misunderstandings between her and the production team had been resolved after immediate discussions at the time.

Sing! China is a singing competition that aims to find new talents from the professional and amateur ranks. It's a rebranded version of The Voice of China, a show that premiered in July 2012. So far, the program has seen 23 mentors and nearly 1,000 contestants.

Lee, a Hong Kong-based singer, attempted suicide at home on July 2 and slipped into a coma. She was taken to hospital in an unconscious state and pronounced dead on July 5.

According to a statement posted by her sister Nancy Lee on July 5, the singer struggled with depression in recent years. A major star, Lee released a number of albums over the years, and many of her songs were popular. She sang A Love Before Time for the movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, which she performed at the Academy Awards in 2001.




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