SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Chinese online platforms ought to rein in the over promotion of celebrities in order to protect minors, an op-ed article published in the state-owned People’s Daily said on Friday.
The opinion piece is one of several similar editorials published this week calling for crackdowns on industries such as gaming and alcohol https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-regulation-companies-idUSKBN2F61BJ, which have prompted investors to dump stocks in targetted sectors.
The article argued that teenagers’ cultural experience, self-awareness, and consumption habits are all affected by new media and technology, while the type of celebrities they follow and admire are closely related to online platforms.
It criticized platforms that prioritize traffic and create celebrities out of “unworthy” individuals, who can draw attention and money from fans.
Online platforms should “strictly control idol development programs, and strengthen management of talent show programs” by controlling reviews, voting mechanisms, and comments, it said.
The article did not name specific companies. Popular platforms in China for fans to interact with celebrities include Bilibili Inc, Weibo Corp, Kuaishou Technology, and ByteDance-backed Douyin.
The piece comes after Chinese-Canadian pop singer Kris Wu was detained by police https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/police-china-detain-canadian-pop-star-kris-wu-over-rape-allegation-2021-08-01 amid allegations of seducing underage women. Wu has denied the accusations.
Wu’s case has been widely followed in China and seen as a sign of excesses in China’s entertainment industry and timely in the wake of the global #MeToo movement.
A series of similar articles has been published in state media recently pointing to problems in a range of industries.
This week, state media or government agencies have published articles targeting the gaming, alcohol, and the e-cigarette sectors, causing shares in related companies to fall.
(Reporting by Josh Horwitz; editing by Richard Pullin)