Chinese language state media has described the downfall of one of many nation’s greatest pop idols as a broader warning to highly effective figures within the leisure sector that they can’t reap the benefits of their followers.
Kris Wu, often called Wu Yifan, is spending his first week behind bars in Beijing after being arrested final weekend over allegations he raped a fan.
The case has dominated dialogue on Chinese language social media and even prompted some loyal followers on-line to vow they may bust him out of jail.
Mr Wu maintains his innocence and has vowed authorized measures to defend himself in opposition to the claims.
The 30-year-old Canadian citizen has emerged in recent times as one in every of China’s main “Xiaoxianrou” or “younger recent meat” stars, a time period referring to fairly male pop or display screen idols.
After rising to stardom in a Korean boy band, he has since starred in movies, a preferred rap present and actuality tv applications, and his face has been omnipresent on promoting billboards.
However sexual harassment claims have dogged him over the previous month, after a 19-year-old lady aired allegations on-line that two years in the past, he lured her to his house on the pretences of a piece alternative, then plied her with drinks and raped her.
Since she went public, greater than two dozen ladies have alleged various levels of sexual impropriety by the famous person, culminating in his arrest in Beijing over the weekend.
A dozen firms, together with Porsche, Bulgari and Lancome, have now reduce ties, dumping Mr Wu as a model ambassador.
Graeme Smith, a China specialist at The Australian Nationwide College, advised the ABC the swiftness of Mr Wu’s downfall after the allegations emerged instructed potential intervention by somebody extra highly effective than the police.
“I believe this might have gone as much as a really excessive decision-making degree as a result of it sends a really, very sturdy sign,” Dr Smith mentioned.
Beijing police say their investigation work is continuous, however state media has used the arrest to warn Mr Wu faces between 10 years and life in jail if convicted of great offences.
China tries to scrub up rising celeb tradition
Within the wake of Mr Wu’s arrest, authorities media shops have sought to ship a message: Neither fame nor a international passport will show you how to keep away from Chinese language justice.
Mr Wu’s arrest “teaches society a really strong lesson that everybody is equal earlier than the regulation”, wrote the Authorized Every day, a publication of the central authorities.
The Communist Social gathering’s mouthpiece, Folks’s Every day, used the arrest to warn that international citizenship was not any safety in opposition to violating Chinese language legal guidelines, a message amplified by different state media.
“On Chinese language soil, everyone seems to be equal earlier than the regulation,” state broadcaster CCTV wrote in online commentary.
Mr Wu’s fall from grace got here simply months after a authorities physique overseeing China’s performing arts sector issued a brand new set of regulatory tips for the way performers and celebrities ought to behave.
Apart from requiring that every one performers should “love the motherland” and create artwork that “serves the individuals and socialism”, the rules additionally threaten trade boycotts in opposition to performers who break the regulation or take part in unlawful actions.
Lately, Chinese language President Xi Jinping’s authorities has additionally sought to scrub up the bodily look of entertainers, banning tattoos from being displayed together with earrings on males.
Widespread leisure exhibits now blur out inked arms if performers haven’t already lined them.
The laws, launched in 2019, search to advertise “wholesome cultural schooling”, in response to the regulator.
Wealth and fame have lengthy been dangerous in China
This yr’s tips for entertainers got here within the wake of one other Chinese language megastar, Fan Bingbing, disappearing from the general public eye for 4 months solely to re-emerge apologising for tax avoidance.
The 2018 punishment for Ms Fan — a movie star with a much wider fanbase than Mr Wu — confirmed no star in China was too large for authorities to chop down.
Whereas’s Mr Wu’s case is totally different, China’s authorities has already moved to close down his Weibo account, his music on streaming websites and droop some fan dialogue teams on-line.
“The principle issue is fan tradition,” Dr Smith defined.
“The regime is getting very freaked out by the period of time that it absorbs and the amount of cash that goes in the direction of what the celebration regards as ineffective exercise.”
Mr Wu’s case is being seen by some as a part of a broader motion in China much like the #MeToo motion within the US, the place highly effective leisure trade figures have been named, shamed and typically prosecuted for previous behaviour deemed abusive or exploitative.
Mr Wu’s case is essentially the most excessive profile in China since a widely known state tv host Zhu Jun was sued for sexual harassment by common on-line blogger Zhou Xiaoxuan in a legal case that is still ongoing.
In contrast to the US although, #MeToo advocates face a a lot more durable setting in China, the place authorities censorship and management of the media has restricted their potential to construct comparable momentum to activists abroad.
And it’s not clear that Mr Wu’s arrest displays any broader development that the Chinese language Communist Social gathering is prioritising the therapy of girls.
“That is about as far-off from feminism and the #MeToo motion as you possibly can think about,” Dr Smith mentioned.