mikasaackerman (mikasaackerman) wrote in ohnotheydidnt,

How a cyberwar sparked by a report against a fanfic led to the boycott of Chinese idol, Xiao Zhan

Kinda like a follow-up to this post from February 29 "AO3 is banned now in China".


- Xiao Zhan starred in a period drama series, The Untamed (2019), which depicts implicit love between two male protagonists (starring Xiao Zhan and Wang Yibo). The pair solves murder mysteries and battle evil in the fantasy series.

- A fanfic depicting Xiao Zhan as a cross-dressing sex worker who fell in love with another male idol, Wang Yibo was published on fanfic website, Archive of Our Own (aka AO3) and a Chinese social platform, Lofter.

- Fans of Xiao Zhan, who were offended by their idol's image being given the homoerotic treatment in that fanfic, reported the piece to the Chinese authorities for containing "prostitution and pornographic content".

- AO3 and Lofter were soon taken down by China's censorship police.

- Other internet users of those sites, who were not Xiao Zhan fans, got upset by Xiao Zhan's fans for reporting to the Chinese authorities, which led to those websites becoming inaccessible to everyone.

- Hence, they called for a boycott against Xiao Zhan and the brands associated with him (Estée Lauder, Piaget and Cartier), which led to brands dropping Xiao Zhan as their spokesperson and brand ambassador. Besides that, they also gave low ratings to shows that Xiao Zhan appeared in.

- Xiao Zhan's disappearance from the public eye has been called "The 227 incident" because of the date when the fanfic was published: 27 February 2020.

- On March 1, Xiao Zhan's PR management team issued a public apology on Weibo, expressing regret for his fans "occupying public resources". His fan club also issued an apology for their failure to prevent some of their members from voicing "radical" views. Despite the apologies, people are still angry with Xiao Zhan, who has yet to personally respond to the scandal.

- [TW: for suicide attempt]Further exacerbating the issue, a 15 y.o. fan tried to commit suicide on March 15 after her father refused to give her US$700 to buy fan products. The fan took 100 pills but was fortunately saved at the hospital. Recently, the police in the Fujian province also reported that a fan was scammed ¥57,800 (USD8,123) after joining a purported Xiao Zhan fan club on Chinese social media platform, QQ.

- The Communist Party of China's official newspapers Procuratorial Daily and Jiefang Daily also commented on the scandal. On March 14, an opinion piece from Jiefang Daily was republished by the authoritative People's Daily that said Xiao had to be held responsible for the repercussions of his fans' actions.

- “Although [Xiao’s public relations team] apologised for his fans’ behaviour … the statement can only console his fans, but not persuade the public. His fans might not expect that their behaviour to protect the star has the opposite effect and has created the biggest crisis for him since he joined the entertainment industry. [...] He became a public enemy online overnight … He is far from the first idol to suffer because of fans’ crazy action. Individual fans insult and attack voices differing from theirs. This incident should not only lead to much hand-wringing on the part of his fans, but also a rethinking of the [echo chamber culture] of the Chinese entertainment fan circles.”

Source: SCMP | timeoutshanghai

ontd, what are your bad experiences with fandoms?
Tags: asian celebrities, cpop / jpop / kpop, fandom / stan culture, fanfiction

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