LIFE / CULTURE
‘FAN’atic: Fans trapped on mountain show dangers of out-of-control fandoms
Published: Jul 12, 2021 06:40 PM
TV drama Falling into Your Smile Photo: Sina Weibo

TV drama Falling into Your Smile Photo: Sina Weibo

A group of fans who became trapped on a dangerous mountainside in Shaoxing, East China's Zhejiang Province on Wednesday just to catch a glimpse of their favorite star is one of the latest incidents that show the dangers which rabid fandoms can bring. Another incident on Monday involving online arguments and cyberbullying toward an actress on the recent hot TV drama Falling into Your Smile also shows the social chaos that can arise from these fans. 

The group of fanatic star-chasers were on the mountain to catch a glimpse of their favorite idols, who were filming a TV variety show nearby. However, after night fell, the group was unable to find a way down, and so called the police for help. When police arrived, they discovered that the group of fans were standing near a sharp cliff that had been hidden by bushes. With help from local police, the fans were rescued from danger, even though there were still some who were hesitant to come along because they had not yet seen the idols they had come for. 

The incident soon went viral among netizens on various social media platforms such as Sina Weibo and Douban. While some fellow fans tried to rationalize the group's behavior, a majority of netizens said they found it absurd.

"Completely idiotic," said one netizen on Sina Weibo. 

"But, as a fan girl you really cannot resist following your idol every day, especially when you know where they are," Cherry, a 17-year-old fan in Beijing, told the Global Times on Monday. 

However, many fans disagree, saying that it is important to remain rational and calm when taking an interest in stars in order to maintain a healthy fan environment. 

"Our association rejects the behaviors of these 'private-fans.' If we discover extreme behaviors like this, we will publicly warn the person in the group. As an association, we support our idol within a system. If such behavior leads to something bad happening, that can cast a shadow on idols as well since they are public figures," Mini Wang, a fan association leader in Chengdu, told the Global Times on Monday. 

"I think they were very ignorant. Their behavior caused social disorder, and used up public resources. Imagine if those policemen had something really important and life-saving to do," Xu, a fan in Beijing, told the Global Times on Monday. 

This is not the only fan group whose behavior has caused "social disorder." 

Another incident involves Chinese actress Cheng Xiao, who became the target of cyberbullying on Monday after her performance in the esport-themed TV drama Falling into Your Smile led to esport industry insiders accusing her of being "unprofessional" and "ruining the spirit of esports." The controversy ended up instigating an online fight between esports groups and Cheng's fans. 

On Monday, Cheng's agency, Yuehua entertainment, issued a statement on Sina Weibo calling for esports fans to stop abusing Cheng and not to get "too lost in the TV drama." The drama's production team also posted on Sina Weibo that same day: "We call for us to watch these episodes rationally, pass fair judgment and do not insult or target any actors."

"I think official voices such as these can more or less raise fan awareness on how serious their behavior is, but it is not a permanent solution. Actual punishment and publicly exposing them are much more useful, I think," Xiaoxue, a fan culture insider, told the Global Times on Monday.  


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