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Vlogger apologizes for lack of respect in deity parade

By China Daily | China Daily | Updated: 2024-02-22 09:47
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A vlogger's impersonation of a revered local deity during a traditional festival in Fujian province has sparked outrage online, prompting an apology for his "offensive and disrespectful "actions.

The vlogger, surname Zhu, dressed in clothing resembling Zhao Shizi, a figure deeply respected in local legend, and posed for photos and videos directly in front of the deity's statue during the "Pageant of Immortals" event in Fuzhou on Monday.

Held for centuries, the "Pageant of Immortals" involves participants carrying deity statues or wearing heavy costumes in a parade symbolizing the descent of immortals to bless the community. Villagers traditionally line the streets, setting off firecrackers and seeking blessings for prosperity.

Zhu was criticized for multiple reasons. Standing directly in front of the statue was considered inappropriate behavior, and the dragon pattern on his costume featured five paws, while the deity's has four, which was seen as disrespectful symbolism.

Traditionally, participants seek permission from the deities by throwing half-moon-shaped divination implements in front of their statues.

While Zhu claimed he consulted livestreamers familiar with the event, many netizens rejected his apology, deeming it insincere.

His Douyin account saw a surge in followers despite the controversy.

On Tuesday, Zhu posted an apology video acknowledging his lack of respect for the local tradition and showing him visiting the temple to seek forgiveness. He claimed ignorance of the specific customs as an outsider and defended seeking input from livestreamers who seemingly approved of his actions. He deleted the offending videos and pledged to be more culturally sensitive in the future.

The apology video garnered nearly 124,000 views and 72,000 comments, with the majority expressing skepticism and dissatisfaction.

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