London (CNN Business) – K-pop fans are the latest victim of China’s crackdown on celebrity culture.
Weibo, China’s heavily censored version of Twitter, announced on Sunday that it suspended 21 fan accounts dedicated to various K-pop artists due to “irrational star-chasing behavior.”
The accounts, which have been suspended for 30 days, are dedicated to members of popular South Korean artists, including BTS, Blackpink, EXO, and IU. The temporary bans come after a fan account dedicated to BTS artist Jimin was suspended.
A notice on Jimin’s fan club account reads, “The account is temporarily banned from posting due to violating Weibo community regulations.” Weibo added that some blog posts have also been removed.
Weibo said it “strongly opposes such irrational star-chasing behavior and will take it seriously,” and promises to “promote rational star-chasing activities and regulate community order.”
Chinese Laws Against Tech Companies
In recent weeks, the entertainment industry in general has fallen in the crosshairs of the ruling Communist Party, as President Xi Jinping’s crackdown on private companies has expanded beyond its initial goals in the tech sector.
Zhao Wei, one of China’s most prominent actresses, saw her presence wiped for the most part from the country’s internet overnight. His Weibo fan page was shut down. The movies and TV shows he starred in, some dating back two decades, were removed from streaming platforms, and his name was also removed from the cast lists.
While the government has targeted Chinese celebrities individually before, the recent crackdown is broader and more severe, and their presence has mostly been wiped from the country’s internet.
Authorities have also targeted the celebrity fan culture popular with China’s youth. The China Cyberspace Administration (CAC) recently announced 10 measures to “clean up” what it called the “chaos” of celebrity fan clubs, including a ban on any attempt to rank celebrities based on their popularity and popularity. tightening of regulations on talent agencies and fan club accounts. A day earlier, the popular video platform iQiyi canceled all idol talent 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 upheaval between 1966 and 1976 during which the arts and culture were restricted to promoting partisan propaganda.
The Communist Party, which views popular culture as a key ideological battlefield, has long kept the entertainment industry at bay with strict censorship. But it has also encouraged their growth, supporting domestic films and shows aimed at helping Chinese audiences be drawn to Hollywood and other foreign productions.
Under Xi Jinping, the party has become increasingly obsessed with ideological and cultural control. The dazzle of stardom and the frenzy of fan groups are increasingly seen as a dangerous and pernicious influence, especially on the country’s youth.
CNN’s Beijing office contributed to this article.