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Progress seen in curbing idol worship online

By Cao Yin | China Daily | Updated: 2021-08-04 09:05

Over 1,300 chat groups removed for inciting irrational behavior by fans

China's cyberspace watchdog has pledged to continue intensifying efforts to guide star-struck web users to rationally support idols by further regulating internet platforms and increasing inspections to guard against improper acts in the industry.

The Cyberspace Administration of China launched a nationwide campaign in June to purify the online environment after it found some netizens and online platforms had used improper means to encourage fans, especially youngsters, to exhibit their adoration of celebrities in irrational ways.

For example, it discovered some lured fans to support their idols by raising large amounts of money and using slurs or false claims to insult other stars.

On Monday, the administration said the ongoing campaign has made progress. It has removed more than 150,000 pieces of harmful information and over 1,300 online chat groups for inciting netizens to follow stars irrationally.

More than 4,000 online accounts and 814 online topics that purportedly misled people to follow stars in an improper manner have also been closed, it said.

The administration added that 39 mini programs suspected of either improperly raising funds or attracting online views have been shut down during the campaign.

It called on internet platforms and websites to improve management of groups of fans, and urged them to further upgrade their products and services to prevent those under the age of 18 from supporting idols irrationally.

The administration said it was planning to explore the establishment of a long-term mechanism to regulate such online behavior, and would intensify the fight against it.

On Monday, the National Radio and Television Administration announced plans to carry out a one-month operation against online variety shows in a bid to curb irrational worship of celebrities and misconduct committed in the act of supporting stars.

The country has stepped up efforts to inspect the activities of fans and regulate the entertainment industry after some irregularities disturbed public order and had negative effects on society.

On Saturday, Beijing police said they had detained a 30-year-old Canadian man born in China and surnamed Wu on suspicion of rape after he was accused of tricking young women into having sex. Many Chinese media outlets then confirmed the suspect was Kris Wu, one of China's most high-profile celebrities.

After the scandal was exposed, the country's TV, film and music associations said that celebrities should abide by laws and ethical standards and devote more energy to creating works, calling for them to be strict with themselves as public figures and set a good example for youngsters.

No one has the privilege of doing whatever they want, no matter how much support they get from fans or how many online views they can attract, the China TV Artists Association said.

In May, an online video showing some fans pouring milk down drains to support their idols in a talent show enraged the public. Both iQiyi, the online platform providing the show, and Mengniu, the dairy firm involved in the promotion, which asked fans to buy milk to earn the right to vote for their idols, apologized for the incident. The program was canceled.

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