By Charles Riley, CNN Business
K-pop fans are the latest victim in China’s crackdown on celebrity culture.
Weibo, the heavily censored Chinese version of Twitter, announced on Sunday that it had suspended 21 fan accounts dedicated to various K-pop artists due to “irrational star-hunting behavior.”
The accounts, which were suspended for 30 days, are dedicated to members of popular South Korean pop groups, including BTS, Blackpink, EXO and IU. The temporary bans come after a fan account dedicated to BTS artist Jimin was suspended.
An opinion on the Jimin fan club the account reads: “The account is temporarily banned from posting due to a violation of Weibo community guidelines.” Weibo added that some blog posts have also been removed.
Weibo said he “strongly opposes such irrational star-hunting behavior and will treat it seriously,” and promises to “promote rational star-hunting activities and regulate the community order.”
In recent weeks, the broader entertainment industry has fallen into the crosshairs of the ruling Communist Party, as President Xi Jinping’s crackdown on private companies has widened beyond its original goals in the past. technology sector.
Zhao Wei, one of China’s most prominent actresses, saw her presence largely erased from the country’s internet overnight. His fan page on Weibo has been closed. The movies and TV shows she starred in – some dating back to two decades ago – have been taken off streaming platforms, with her name removed from distribution lists as well.
While individual Chinese celebrities have already been targeted by the government, the recent crackdown is broader and more severe, with their presence mostly erased from the country’s internet.
The authorities have also attacked the celebrity fan culture popular among Chinese youth. The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) recently announced 10 steps to “clean up” what it called the “chaos” of celebrity fan clubs, including banning any attempt to rank celebrities by popularity and strengthening regulations regarding talent agencies and fan club accounts. . A day earlier, the popular video platform iQiyi canceled all idol shows, calling them “unhealthy.”
On Chinese social media, some comments said the crackdown was reminiscent of the Cultural Revolution, a decade of political and social unrest between 1966 and 1976 in which arts and culture were limited to promoting party propaganda.
The Communist Party, which views popular culture as a key ideological battleground, has long held the entertainment industry on a leash with strict censorship. But it also encouraged its growth, supporting national films and shows aimed at conquering Chinese audiences against Hollywood and foreign productions.
Under Xi, the party became increasingly obsessed with ideological and cultural control. The glare of fame and the frenzy of fandom are increasingly seen as a dangerous and pernicious influence, especially on the country’s youth.
– CNN’s Beijing office contributed to this article.
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