On July 31, Chinese pop star Kris Wu was arrested by Chinese police with charges of sexual assault. Further analysis came out after the this. News outlets then revealed on August 9 that the Chinese government began investigating idol fan clubs, agencies, and other related social media platforms last June.
Because of this, the National Internet Information Office (CAC) began deleting more than 150,000 so-called "new messages." Then, it shut down over over 4,000 social media accounts and approximately 39 mobile apps.
Furthermore, Weibo announced on August 6 that it won't operate a "Star Power Ranking List.".
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The mentioned list was one of the "internet battlegrounds" where the Chinese fans are showing their love and support for their favorite artists.
Additionally, the National Bureau of Photoelectricity issued a notice lately about strengthening the management of online entertainment programs like the idol training programs.
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News outlets stated that the industry related to idol fan culture is massive and it is one of the few channels where public participation and expression is permitted in China.
One fan, Nini Yee, who is 17 years old and from ShenZhen, cried for many hours when she heard the news of Kris Wu's arrest. She has been a big fan of Kris ever since his debut as an EXO member in 2012.
Yee claimed her 10 years of childhood are gone, adding that she would never go after or even like another artist in her life ever again.
Most of the fans similar to Yee belonged to the fan club and they moved as a group. It is also known that the fan club residents who led the alleged "commenting campaign" were paid for the activities they put effort into.
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Idol fan Club Business
Summer Song, who runs an idol fan club-related business in Beijing, commented that he sometimes paid the fan club president 100,000 yuan - or around 15,400 USD - in exchange for event support services.
With the increasing number of fans' activities, social media has been enjoying the outcome of the same increasing traffic.
However, Song added that Kris' fall might initiate the end of the golden age of "top traffic stars."
A researcher at Zhongshan University in Guangzhou stated that China's idol fan culture has been formed along with the rise of Korean and Japanese boy band culture, TV reality shows, and the increasing Internet traffic.
He explained that as the authorities are tightening censorship of cultural activities since 2012, a lot of young individuals have found no place to enhance their interests, that is why they chase their idols.
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Kris Wu's Arrest Aftermath
Researcher Chun speculated that Kris Wu's case has given the authorities an excuse to crack down the existing fandoms.
He added that he did not know whether the crackdown will successfully achieve its goal, but now that all societies need the entertainment industry and there probably will be a lot of money at stake.
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Written by Annie Barmaine.