China cyberspace administration tightens rules to cool frenzied idol worshipping, especially among minors
Published: Aug 27, 2021 01:09 PM

Wu Yifan Photo:VCG

Wu Yifan Photo:VCG


China's cyberspace administration has ordered a heightened crackdown on the unhealthy online fandom culture, to reduce frenzied idol worshipping among underage fans. Recent cases involving fans blindly supporting scandal-hit celebrities have increased concern over toxic fan culture. 

All ranking lists of celebrities will be removed from online, and management of fan groups will be strengthened, the Chinese top internet watchdog announced on Friday in a bid to crack down on the unhealthy fan club culture in the country, banning all forms of promotional events that use a competitive scheme among the celebrities or fans. 

Since the campaign to clean up unhealthy fandom culture was launched, a number of online functions including celebrity ranking lists, hot topics, fan communities, and interactive comment sections have seen measurable improvement, the Cyberspace Administration of China said. To further weed out toxic fan culture, the administration announced the 10-point regulation, according to a notice issued by the administration. 

All celebrity ranking lists and related functions will be removed, only keeping the rankings of music, movies, television and other works by the celebrities, the notice said. 

It added that online platform functions such as fans sign-in, likes, and comments should receive lesser weight for the rankings of cultural works, and more focus should be given to professional comments. Online platforms are not allowed to set up functions of paid sign-ins for fans or increase the number of sign-ins by topping up memberships, to guide fans pay more attention to the quality of products but not those who created them. 

Celebrity agencies will also face tighter regulation, in terms of content release, commercial promotion, and fan management of celebrities. The agencies' role in guiding fan groups is ordered to be enhanced to encourage them to crack down on the accounts that pick fights or create chaos in online spaces.

Management of fan group accounts will be strengthened, the notice said, stressing that the accounts must be authorized by the celebrity agencies and accept daily supervision and guidance. Teenagers are limited from joining in the fan clubs.

Harmful content involving fans arguing over issues of celebrities, picking fights, and spreading rumors will be removed, as well as communities established to serve these purposes. 

The administration has also banned news pop-ups concerning entertainment and celebrity gossip, as well as content that is considered vulgar or violent, it announced in a notice on Friday. The notice also banned remarks from scandal-ridden celebrities or controversial figures in pop-ups.

Pop-ups should not carry news content that has been illegally compiled by commercial websites or self-media accounts that are not authorized to do so, the administration said, and news titles should not mislead the public by hyping up hot topics of the day or distorting facts in order to be more eye-catching. The media should not give too many details of bloody scenes at emergency events and disasters, it added. 

The clamp-down came after enthralled fans of Chinese-Canadian singer Kris Wu Yifan reportedly discussed organizing a "prison break" to "rescue" their idol after Wu was detained by Beijing police for suspected rape in early August.

Global Times