CAC to regulate digital celebrity presence to create a healthy internet environment


In a recent move, the cyberspace administration of China (“CAC”)
launched a new campaign to regulate the digital presence of celebrities in
China. The key objective behind this move is to create a healthy and positive
internet environment. This notice will cut down on stars’ personal information
on the internet and their presence on social media sites through advertisement.
It will also restrain celebrities from spreading rumours and bringing out false
Subsequently, CAC made an official announcement on 23rd November,
to monitor and regulate celebrity fan culture in China. The authorities articulated
that celebrities alongside their fan pages must strictly adhere to the public
guidelines and maintain a healthy lifestyle. The officials of CAC proclaimed that
they would create a list of celebrities who are promoting bad values such as
showing off wealth and making any attempts to influence fans to support their
The cyberspace regulator stated that any type of celebrity endorsements
and promotional advertisements should be knocked out by social media
platforms and all the fan clubs accounts must be closely monitored by the
officials. The announcement came after the Chinese Communist Party’s
expressed concern over the nation’s developing entertainment industry and the
celebrity scandals that follow.
Interestingly, the China Association of Performing Arts cracks down hard
on notable Chinese celebrities including Kris Wu, a Chinese Canadian pop star,
who recently became infamous for his alleged sexual assault charges. The
China Association of Performing Arts banned the Chinese Canadian star along
with 88 other celebrities from live-streaming their performances. The said
organisation justified the action by saying the list was designed to “strength the
self-discipline of industry” and “prevent illegal and unethical artists” from coming
back. Moreover, it will restrict fan group accounts from verbal abuse against
each other and taking part in “illegal fundraising” to stop their idol stars’.
CAC vide its announcement also stated that the Chinese social media
sites and apps shall closely monitor and immediately report any suspicious or
criminal or illegal acts of celebrity rumours and group disputes among fans to
the concerned authorities to take further actions.
In the same month, the internet saw the disappearance of popular actress
Zhao Wei from all social media and streaming platforms. Meanwhile, officials
did not provide any concrete reasoning for cancelling Zhao but the state-backed
media stated that various scandals over the past year by the actress might be
the main reason behind this such as the investor lawsuit of $7.45 million in
August 2021. Communist Party has been in news lately after tennis star Peng
Shuai accused a former senior member of the Chinese Communist Party of
sexual assault in an editorial published on Weibo, which was later removed.
After that, she remained unseen for a month until her video call with the
International Olympic Committee. Chairman and CEO of Women’s Tennis
Association Chairman, Steve Simon said in a statement that “Peng Shuai and
all women deserve a chance to be heard. The sexual assault case on a former
senior member of the Chinese Communist Party should be treated with utmost
seriousness. We expect this issue to be carefully investigated with
It is worthwhile to mention that the government of China earlier had
banned global social media giants such as Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook.
Thus, Chinese social media users which account for a sizeable chunk of global
users are largely consuming on domestic sites such as Weibo, Youku, and
Earlier in August 2021, popular Chinese social media platform, Weibo
took down its online list that ranked celebrities by popularity after the claim of
state media on children’s minds by the entertainment industry.
According to a Reuters report,1 China’s government-backed newspaper
‘People’s daily’ played a major role behind Weibo’s actions. The state-owned
newspaper published an editorial lashing major social media websites and apps
which adulates celebrity culture. Although the article did not mention any
specific platform, Weibo made a statement that its decision to pull celebrity list
“Star Power Ranking List” was due to the “irrational support” some fans were
showing to their idol celebrities and the list was encouraging an unhealthy
environment between stars and their fans.
In mid-2021, People’s Daily published an editorial stating “crazy star
chasing behavior that makes people gradually lose their minds”.
The editorial also stated that many underage fans don’t have any jobs or
resources to earn money but also are immature and easily fall into the trap of
‘excess consumption’ and ‘borrowing to chase stars’.
“These fans are ready to spend their time, money, and energy to build
momentum and resources for their idols. But some people go to some extremes
for them. Money is equal to love and how much you spend on your idol shows
how much you love them.”

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