Celebrities and their followers need to know where to draw the line
Published: Jan 11, 2023 11:58 PM
fandom Photo:VCG

fandom Photo:VCG

An incident involving fans of Chinese-Canadian idol Yu Jingtian which led to a scrum at a Shanghai airport quickly began trending on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo with over 300 million views, and has once again highlighted the urgency for correcting unhealthy obsession and worship of celebrity idols. 

This includes the need to better regulate and discourage this increasingly prevalent type of behavior.  

On January 4, 2023 fans of Yu amassed outside of Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport after learning that the star was due to arrive on that day. 

In trying to give the megastar a fitting reception, fans block airport access, blocked pathways, and created potential security risks. 

This kind of irrational behavior was inappropriate and disrespectful. 

It can easily spill over into physical harm for either those in the crowd or innocent bystanders. 

Airport security staff were overwhelmed when trying to extract Yu from the terminal amid the massive crowd, with fans yelling "don't push him."  

Yu eventually posted an apology on Sina Weibo on Wednesday. 

Yet, the idol's reaction has done little to put a stop on further similar incidents, and was viewed in some quarters as simply offering lip service to online critics.

Xiang Junyi, a social observer told the Global Times that idols like Yu were far from innocent in the face of unruly incidents organized by crazed fans. 

And that it was imperative for these figures to find a more controlled and safe way to interact with their legions of followers.  

Love lost between stars and their followers can be mended sometimes, but harmful and toxic behavior among elements of society brought about by unhealthy idolization may end up being irreversible. 

Xiang said that fans who go too far need to be singled out so as to set an example for others, and in particular younger impressionable followers.

The author is an editor of the Global Times.