Healthy idol culture urged as Kris Wu's crazy fans reportedly discuss 'prison break'
Published: Aug 03, 2021 08:58 PM Updated: Aug 05, 2021 09:42 PM
Kris Wu Photo: VCG

Kris Wu Photo: VCG

Chinese experts said the current distorted fan culture is due to an invisible and gray industrial chain that induces young fans to spend money and boost certain stars' popularity for profit, and they called for building a healthy and positive fandom world. 

The experts' remarks came after some ridiculous comments appeared on social media like "let's break into prison to rescue Kris Wu," and some fans allegedly made plans to organize "rescue groups" and "prison visiting team," China Youth Daily reported. 

Chinese-Canadian pop idol Kris Wu was detained by Beijing police for suspected rape, police from Beijing's Chaoyang district announced late Saturday night. 

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Communist Party of China published an article on Thursday saying that the Kris Wu incident shows that the distorted fan culture must be rectified, and that creating a clean and upright cyberspace for the majority of netizens, especially young people, requires the joint efforts of the whole society.

"We must work together to establish rules for celebrities' words and deeds, keep the influence of capital in check, curb the barbaric growth of pan-entertainment, strengthen industry self-discipline, and urge entertainers to establish correct professional values."

The article noted that China's idol market has continued to grow given the increase in per capita disposable income and the rise of "Generation Z" consumer groups. According to some industry insiders, the total scale of China's idol market is expected to reach 140 billion yuan ($22 billion) in 2022.

China's cyberspace authorities will strengthen online celebrity-related information standards, and lay a solid foundation for the long-term rectification and standardization of fan culture, read the article. 

From Monday night to Tuesday afternoon, Sina Weibo removed 133 illegal group chats, and it banned and permanently closed 503 accounts that included some improper remarks related to Wu's case.

However, Sina Weibo's official account said on Tuesday night that many users who created chat groups were not real fans but aimed to attract eyeballs by publishing some extreme statements.

On Monday night, China's top cyberspace authority said it had removed over 150,000 items of harmful information from online platforms and shut down more than 1,300 chat groups, amid efforts to create a wholesome internet environment for starstruck web users.

"The culprit of the chaotic fan culture lies in an entire gray industrial chain with a clear division of labor, mature organization, and capital participation. They earn profits by taking advantage of the immature minds of minors and misleading fans to spend money for their idols," Xiao Fuqiu, a cultural critic based in Shanghai, told the Global Times on Tuesday. 

He added that for fans who have been misled by the chain for a long time, their moral standards and values have been distorted. "They find excuses for their idols, even for their criminal behaviors."

"Some marketing accounts are the 'parasites' on this invisible fan culture industrial chain. As long as the capital behind the stars pays, they will post flattering and biased opinions online," Shi Wenxue, a cultural critic based in Beijing, said.

Kris Wu's incident is not the first case of chaos in fan culture. Hit Chinese variety show Youth With You Season 3 in May was suspended after the show, where trainees compete to become idols, was involved in a scandal of wasting tons of milk.