China bans celebrities from showing off wealth and 'extravagant pleasure' on social media, saying pop stars must comply with 'core socialist values'

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  • Celebrities in China can no longer post “unethical” content, the country’s Cyberspace Administration said on Tuesday.
  • This includes content that “shows off wealth” and “extravagant pleasure,” the notice says. 
  • The move is part of The Communist Party’s recent crackdown on the entertainment industry and fandom.

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Celebrities in China can no longer “show off wealth” or “extravagant pleasure” on social media, The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) announced Tuesday. 

Both celebrity and fan club accounts must “follow public order and good customs, adhere to correct public opinion orientation and value orientation, promote socialist core values, and maintain a healthy style and taste,” China’s internet regulation agency said in a statement.

The announcement follows The Communist Party’s crackdown on China’s growing entertainment industry, as officials push back against celebrity scandals and “chaotic” online fan groups believed to cause social disorder.

Tuesday’s notice also prohibits celebrities from spreading rumors, publishing false or private information, provoking fan groups to “verbally attack each other,” and encouraging fans to partake in “illegal fundraising or irrational investment.” 

On the same day, The China Association of Performing Arts banned a total of 88 people from live streaming , including Chinese-Canadian pop star Kris Wu, who was recently accused of sexual assault.

The list is designed to “strengthen industry self-discipline” and “prevent illegal and unethical artists” from re-entering the industry, the group said. 

In August, China’s state-run entertainment regulator deleted Zhao Wei, one of the country’s most popular actresses, from all social media and streaming platforms. While officials did not provide a reason behind Wei’s removal, state-backed media cited “various scandals over the years” such as a $7.45 million investor lawsuit. 

To enforce the new rules, Chinese social networks must monitor and report “suspected illegal and criminal acts of exposed stars, and group conflicts involving fans” to the authorities while moderating content that may prompt social disorder, according to the notice. 

Access to global apps such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube is blocked in China, causing users to rely on domestic sites subject to censorship such as Weibo, Renren, and YouKu. 

China recently faced scrutiny after tennis star Peng Shuai accused a former senior member of The Communist Party of sexual assault in a post on Weibo, which was later removed. She remained unseen for nearly a month until this Sunday when she talked to the International Olympic Committee over a video call. 

“Peng Shuai, and all women, deserve to be heard, not censored. Her accusation about the conduct of a former Chinese leader involving a sexual assault must be treated with the utmost seriousness,” WTA Chairman and CEO Steve Simon said in a statement. “We expect this issue to be handled properly, meaning the allegations must be investigated fully, fairly, transparently and without censorship.”

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