Messi fans, internet users call for movie boycott

By Zhao Yusha Source:Global Times Published: 2018/2/25 22:58:40

Angry internet users are calling for a boycott of Detective Chinatown 2 after the Chinese action-comedy movie allegedly insulted Argentina  soccer superstar Lionel Messi and then one of its writers was alleged to have posted a series of ugly comments on Chinese social media.

In an official Weibo social media post, the film's cast said co-writer Cheng Jiake had incorrectly interpreted the movie and he had already apologized to the entire film production group.

People have the right to publish statements on the internet, but these should also be in accordance with Chinese internet regulations and the moral code, the post said.

The movie first outraged Chinese net users by including a dwarf - or little person - actor wearing Messi's  soccer shirt, which was interpreted by fans as offensive and insulting to Messi.

Replying to users' outrage, Cheng said the little person was "adding some humor" and joked "Is Messi your grandfather?" when asked to apologize on China's Quora-like Zhihu discussion forum.

Angry net users then sifted through Cheng's Sina Weibo account and reposted a series of his most controversial remarks.

Cheng once posted that if a war broke out between China and Japan, he would surrender and work for the Japanese. He also allegedly trivialized army hero Dong Cunrui, who sacrificed his life carrying explosives into an enemy bunker.

Print screens of Cheng's alleged posts included disturbing comments that advocated pedophilia, sexual harassment and animal abuse. For example, in 2012 he reposted an apparently random picture of a young girl and added the caption "Go rape her."

Cheng deleted all his posts and apologized on Saturday afternoon.

The movie amassed 2 billion yuan ($320 million) at the box office, Tianjin Daily reported on Saturday.

Cheng's behavior violated the law as his comments insulted official heroes and created a very bad social influence, said Wang Sixin, a law professor at the Communication University of China in Beijing.

Obscenity, bad taste and ethnic discrimination can circulate social media beyond government regulation, said Wang, noting that in response the government has implemented regulations to "purify" the internet.

Last week, a Chinese user was fined 500 yuan and detained 10 days for criticizing 92-year-old Huang Xuhua, a nuclear scientist, on Weibo.

Posted in: SOCIETY

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