Action stepped up to curb improper pursuit of pop stars

By CAO YIN | China Daily | Updated: 2021-08-10 07:36
Share - WeChat
Fans gather for an appearance by pop star Kris Wu at a promotion event in Chengdu, Sichuan province, in December 2014. ZHU JIANGUO/FOR CHINA DAILY

Internet platforms targeted as authorities combat irregularities

Lin Jia lost count of how many bottles of yogurt she bought to support talent show contestant Xia Zhiguang two years ago.

Viewers of the online program Chuang 2019, produced by Tencent, one of China's largest internet enterprises, voted for their favorite contestants by buying yogurt and scanning QR codes on the bottle.

The more votes a competitor received, the bigger chance he had of winning the show and becoming a member of a boyband.

Lin, 23, using an assumed name to protect her privacy, said: "I didn't want Xia to lose. I was willing to help him make his dream come true, so I used my pocket money to buy the yogurt."

The dormitory Lin used at her college was filled with boxes of yogurt, "as I thought my idol needed me and that I could help him improve", she said.

Lin followed the show from April to June 2019, continually voting for the good-looking Xia and either consuming the yogurt on her own or with her roommates. She was excited when Xia stood out among the 101 competitors and debuted as a member of the 11-strong pop band R1SE at the end of the program.

However, she said she quickly became disappointed with the 21-year-old star, who has more than 10 million followers on Sina Weibo.

"I found he had been seen hanging out with a rumored girlfriend after he joined the group, instead of paying more attention to his singing, dancing and acting career. This was different from the hardworking image he portrayed to audiences during the show," she said.

"I felt sad-it was like being cheated. My efforts in helping him promote his career seemed to have been in vain, so I stopped following him," she said.

Recalling the time she spent pursuing Xia and buying the yogurt to help him, she added: "I was irrational. It wasn't worth it."

Lin's behavior is typical in fan quan, or "fan circles", which are highly organized groups of passionate, loyal supporters who share information about their idols and voluntarily use their time, money and expertise to make these performers-usually budding pop singers or actors-as popular and influential as possible.

Fan circle members are mostly girls and young women born after 1995, and their numbers have grown in recent years.

According to a report issued by the China Internet Network Information Center last month, about 8 percent of the country's 183 million netizens under age 18 pursue celebrities, and most of them are middle school students.

Supporters' activities and the rise of fan circles have played a key role in driving the entertainment industry, but they have also triggered controversy.

A teacher from a Beijing high school, who wanted to be named only as Sun, said, "The phenomenon of supporting idols is understandable because it meets teenagers' psychological needs for socializing and self-realization.

"There is nothing wrong with young people chasing stars, but some irrational behavior, which is sometimes incited by adults or internet platforms, should be halted," she said.

For example, some obsessive fans reportedly stole their parents' credit cards to buy products endorsed by their idols, or raised money to pay to vote to increase the stars' popularity.

Some fans also supported their idols by using bad language or false claims to insult the celebrities' rivals, triggering online arguments and disturbing social order.

1 2 3 Next   >>|
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349