Beijing police accept defamation report by Chinese actor blacklisted for Yasukuni Shrine pictures in new development
Published: Dec 25, 2021 12:50 PM
Zhang Zhehan Photo: VCG

Zhang Zhehan Photo: VCG

Police authorities in Chaoyang district of Beijing have accepted Friday a report of a defamation case filed by Zhang Zhehan, a Chinese actor who sparked outrage in August after photos were spread on social media in which he was seen posing for pictures at Japan's notorious Yasukuni Shrine, according to a photo of the report sheet showing Zhang's signature that went viral on social media. 

Zhang faced an internet boycott ever since and his acting career has been significantly impacted by Yasukuni Shrine visiting incident that is believed to have harmed Chinese public's emotions. Zhang's name was also banned from being searchable on social platforms and his works were removed from music apps as well as streaming services. His commercial partnerships with dozens of companies were also terminated.

After the latest development on Friday, some netizens asked whether this signals a turn of public opinion in Zhang's case. 

Li Xuezheng, an entertainment industry bigwig that produced hit anti-graft drama In the Name of the People and director of the Golden Shield Television Center, backed the new development in a video published on his Weibo post on Friday, saying it is good news for Zhang. According to Li, Zhang has been suffering from huge cyber violence ever since the incident, and he has lost not only his career as an actor but also his basic rights. 

Li said the accusation against Zhang must be judged by the law rather than by public opinion only.

China Association of Performing Arts published in November the ninth warning list for livestreaming performances covering 88 celebrities, in which Zhang was listed. 

The Yasukuni Shrine is globally notorious as it commemorates about 1,000 war criminals from World War II, including those who served during Japan's invasion of China (1931-45).

Photos of Zhang attending a wedding in 2019 at Nogi Shrine, another infamous shrine, were also exposed in the August incident. 

Zhang, 30, started to become popular among many Chinese youngsters at the beginning of this year, when his wuxia TV drama Word of Honor was broadcast on the streaming platform Youku.

Global Times