Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Stop drug abuse, set good example

By Wu Yixue (China Daily) Updated: 2014-08-15 07:40

Before Ning, director Zhang Yuan and singer Li Daimo were arrested in Beijing for taking drugs, with Li being sentenced to nine months in prison for hosting crystal meth parties in his apartment in March. In April 2011, Hong Kong actor Max Mok was held in Beijing for smoking marijuana. And three months before that rock singer Xie Tianxiao was nabbed for the same reason.

The detention or arrest of so many celebrities for drug abuse within such a short time has forced people to ask which star will be the next to fall in the ongoing crackdown on drug addicts. Actors, singers and other entertainment personalities are considered role models by many, and their actions, good as well as bad, can influence the behavior of youths.

There is no denying that behind the admirable surface of the entertainment industry there are some bitter stories. The fierce competition to survive, let alone excel, in the industry puts many celebrities under huge pressure. In fact, Ning Caishen told police that he "initially used drugs to ease the pressure he faced as a writer". However, celebrities cannot use the excuse of mental or psychological pressure, no matter how intense it is, to commit a crime, which drug abuse is.

Celebrities are accorded higher social status and exercise more influence than ordinary people, and usually have much easier access to social resources. But they should not exploit these privileges for self-aggrandizement and using narcotics. They have to realize that with high social status comes greater social responsibility.

Our entertainment industry is ridden with scandals - if one star violates traffic rules, another insults fans and still another is involved in a casting couch scandal. But the time has come for celebrities to mend their ways, follow the law in letter and spirit, and refrain from illegal activities for the sake of themselves, the entertainment industry and their fans.

On Wednesday 42 entertainment companies announced they will not hire actors and actresses who are involved in drug use. Hopefully this will be a good start to clean the drugs from China' entertainment industry.

The author is a senior writer with China Daily.

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