Chinese social media platforms delete actor’s accounts of for hurting the nation after controversial photos of Yasukuni Shrine
Published: Aug 15, 2021 11:39 AM
Zhang Zhehan Photo: VCG

Zhang Zhehan Photo: VCG

Chinese social media platforms have deleted the accounts of actor Zhang Zhehan on Sunday amid outrage among the public after he was caught posing at Japan's notorious Yasukuni Shrine. 

As public figures with a lot of fans, being knowledgeable of history  should be a basic professional ethical standard that they must stick to, Twitter-like Sina Weibo said in a statement after deciding to delete Zhang's account and the account of his studio.

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Communist Party of China commented on Sunday that no Chinese people should be "ignorant" of the history of the War of Resistance against Japanese aggression (1931-45), especially for public figures. It also pointed out that the threshold for "artists" looking to enter the entertainment industry must be raised. 

Chinese music platform NetEase Cloud Music and QQ Music removed Zhang's songs on Sunday night. Chinese streaming site Youku also deleted Zhang's name from the cast list of his wuxia TV drama Word of Honor. Video-sharing platform Douyin announced it had cleared Zhang's account as his behavior is harmful and has a negative impact on the society, especially the youths. 

The banning of the actor's accounts on different social media platforms came after China Association of Performing Arts (CAPA) on Sunday urged the industry to ban Zhang. 

Sunday marks the 76th anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War II.

CAPA said in a notice that it is a basic professional ethnic for cultural-activities engaging actors to understand history. Ignorance should not be an excuse. It said Yasukuni Shrine is the spiritual tool and symbol of Japanese militarism in launching its war of aggression and a place where right-wing Japanese forces deny history and beautify the war. 

After assessment of the ethics committee of the CAPA, it said Zhang's highly improper behavior not only harms national emotion but also brings bad influence on teenagers who follow him. 

As a result, the association reprimanded Zhang and urged a boycott of Zhang in the performing industry in accordance with provisions of "notice for the self-discipline of performers in the performance industry." 

Photos displayed on social media showed Zhang posing at Yasukuni Shrine, which honors some of Japan's worst war criminals. There were also photos of Zhang attending a wedding at Nogi Shrine, another infamous shrine that honors imperial Japanese military officers who invaded China during World War II. 

Zhang made an apology online over his ignorance but it did not stop the boycott and termination of his business partnerships.

Before the association called for an industry boycott, all corporate brands which endorsed and contracted him had terminated cooperation with Zhang, such as beverage company Wahaha, and Jewel brand Pandora, and fabrics brand Shanghai Mercury Home Textile. 

The association also warned other actors to strengthen their knowledge about history, and avoid hurting Chinese people's feeling. Those who cross the bottom line must be punished. 

Global Times