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Papi Jiang: “I’ll Watch My Words”

“As a media personality”, she will pay more attention to her “words and image,” Papi Jiang has promised.

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After Chinese online celebrity ‘Papi Jiang’ (aka ‘Papi Chan’) recently became the target of state censorship, she has now publicly stated that “as a media personality”, she will have to pay more attention to her “words and image.” She promises to adjust her popular videos to meet the guidelines of the state. A Sina survey points out that most of China’s netizens are against Papi’s reprimand.

Papi Jiang (papi酱) is China’s new favorite online celebrity. With her sharp and sarcastic videos that humorously address relevant topics in Chinese society, she has become a top trending Weibo celebrity. But with now over 11 million fans on her official Weibo page, the vlogger has learnt that fame can be a double-edged sword.

“Vulgar language and content”

Papi recently was targeted by censors, who took down her popular videos from all major online video platforms for containing “vulgar content”.


one of papi’s videos, in which she addresses women’s constant struggle to lose weight.

On April 18, state newspaper People’s Daily published a post on its Weibo account (@民日报), announcing that Papi Jiang’s videos have been taken offline by the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT). The supposed reason for the removal was that the videos contained “vulgar language and content”. Her videos will be available again once their content is adjusted. This decision was said to be based on public reports and expert evaluation.

National swear word

As of April 18, Papi Jiangs videos are no longer available on Chinese online video platforms. On one of China’s biggest video platforms Youku.com, the search term “Papi酱” gives no relevant results. Search results are still displayed on Aiqiyi.com, but viewing of videos is impossible.

Papi Jiang is known for her creative use of language in her videos, that also contain swear words. They include the Chinese equivalent of f*ck or sh*t, although Papi often uses them with an alternative pronunciation; most of the time, these words are silenced and only the subtitle remains. Some words Papi Jiang uses more freely. One example is the word ‘TaMaDe’ (他妈的, comparable to ‘Damn it!’), wich is considered a “national swear word” (国骂).

“I will watch my words and image”

After the reprimand, Papi made an immediate announcement on Weibo, saying that she is willing to accept the criticism and make adjustments. She also conveyed she supported SAPRFT’s requirement for correction, and that she will attempt to convey “positive power” (正能量) in the future. “As a media personality,” she said: “I will watch my words and my image.” Yang Ming, Papi’s CEO, also expresses the company’s willingness to produce “healthier contents”.

papi

Most netizens, however, do not accept the censors’ decision that easily. According to a Sina survey, more than 70% people are against the decision, believing that internet content should develop its own norms. As for the “healthiness” of online videos in general, around 60% of the surveyees think that the content is overall positive, and that producers are quite ‘disciplined’. For 22% of netizens, “healthiness” of content is not a big concern.

“A positive and healthy cyber culture will be good for everyone”

One day after Papi’s videos were taken down, a symposium on cyberspace security and informatization was held in Beijing (April 19), where President Xi Jinping called for “enhanced development of the Internet and harnessing it for the benefit of the country and the people,” in which “better cyberspace management and a positive and healthy cyber culture will be good for everyone” (Xinhua News).

Many netizens, however, have expressed they believe SAPPRFT’s content censorship is too strict and often unreasonable. One netizen sarcastically commented under the post of People’s Daily (@人民日报): “Why not go back to the old ways and have only the eight Model Operas?”

Side-effect of popularity

There are also jokes about state newspaper People’s Daily, which is ‘Renmin Ribao‘ in Chinese. One comment reads, “I have to stop reading Renmin Ribao now, because there is a ‘Ri‘ in it” [Ri in Chinese is a euphemism of f*ck]

By now, Papi’s Weibo statement has become a well-discussed topic in itself. By Wednesday afternoon, it had received over 61000 comments and 380000 likes. Fans express their unwavering support for Papi, saying that this drawback is just a side-effect of her popularity.

But there are also others who think the adjustments are necessary. “Once you become a public figure, you will need to comply to certain rules. The more popular, the greater your responsibility”, one netizen writes.

As for Papi’s popularity and fame – the reprimand from censors will not harm it. On the contrary, it has made Papi, once again, the talk of the day.

– By Diandian Guo 

Additional editing by Manya Koetse

©2016 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

Diandian Guo is a China-born Master student of transdisciplinary and global society, politics & culture at the University of Groningen with a special interest for new media in China. She has a BA in International Relations from Beijing Foreign Language University, and is specialized in China's cultural memory.

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About Lipstick King’s Comeback and His ‘Mysterious’ Disappearance

After Li Jiaqi’s return to livestreaming, the ‘tank cake incident’ has become the elephant in the room on social media.

Manya Koetse

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Earlier this week, the return of China’s famous livestreamer Li Jiaqi, also known as the ‘Lipstick King’, became a hot topic on Chinese social media where his three-month ‘disappearance’ from the social commerce scene triggered online discussions.

He is known as Austin Li, Lipstick King, or Lipstick Brother, but most of all he is known as one of China’s most successful e-commerce livestreaming hosts.

After being offline for over 100 days, Li Jiaqi (李佳琦) finally came back and did a livestreaming session on September 20th, attracting over 60 million viewers and selling over $17 million in products.

The 30-year-old beauty influencer, a former L’Oreal beauty consultant, rose to fame in 2017 after he became a successful livestreamer focusing on lipstick and other beauty products.

Li broke several records during his live streaming career. In 2018, he broke the Guinness World Record for “the most lipstick applications in 30 seconds.” He once sold 15000 lipsticks in 5 minutes, and also managed to apply 380 different lipsticks in another seven-hour live stream session. Li made international headlines in 2021 when he sold $1.9 billion in goods during a 12-hour-long promotion livestream for Alibaba’s shopping festival.

But during a Taobao livestream on June 3rd of this year, something peculiar happened. After Li Jiaqi and his co-host introduced an interestingly shaped chocolate cake – which seemed to resemble a tank, – a male assistant in the back mentioned something about the sound of shooting coming from a tank (“坦克突突”).

Although Li Jiaqi and the others laughed about the comment, Li also seemed a bit unsure and the woman next to him then said: “Stay tuned for 23:00 to see if Li Jiaqi and I will still be in this position.”

The session then suddenly stopped, and at 23:38 that night Li wrote on Weibo that the channel was experiencing some “technical problems.”

But those “technical problems” lasted, and Li did not come back. His June 3rd post about the technical problems would be the last one on his Weibo account for the months to come.

The ‘cake tank incident’ (坦克蛋糕事件) occurred on the night before June 4, the 33rd anniversary of the violent crackdown of the Tiananmen student demonstrations. The iconic image of the so-called ‘tank man‘ blocking the tanks at Tiananmen has become world famous and is censored on China’s internet. The control of information flows is especially strict before and on June 4, making Li’s ‘tank cake incident’ all the more controversial.

But no official media nor the official Li Jiaqi accounts acknowledged the tank cake incident, and his absence remained unexplained. Meanwhile, there was a silent acknowledgment among netizens that the reason Li was not coming online anymore was related to the ‘tank cake incident.’

During Li’s long hiatus, fans flocked to his Weibo page where they left thousands of messages.

“I’m afraid people have been plotting against you,” many commenters wrote, suggesting that the cake was deliberately introduced by someone else during the livestream as a way to commemorate June 4.

Many fans also expressed their appreciation of Li, saying how watching his streams helped them cope with depression or cheered them up during hard times. “What would we do without you?” some wrote. Even after 80 days without Li Jiaqi’s livestreams, people still commented: “I am waiting for you every day.”

On September 21st, Li Jiaqi finally – and somewhat quietly – returned and some people said they were moved to see their lipstick hero return to the livestream scene.

Although many were overjoyed with Li’s return, it also triggered more conversations on why he had disappeared and what happened to him during the 3+ months of absence. “He talked about a sensitive topic,” one commenter said when a Weibo user asked about Li’s disappearance.

One self-media accountpublished a video titled “Li Jiaqi has returned.” The voiceover repeatedly asks why Li would have disappeared and even speculates about what might have caused it, without once mentioning the tank cake.

“This cracks me up,” one commenter wrote: “On the outside we all know what’s going on, on the inside there’s no information whatsoever.”

“It’s tacit mutual understanding,” some wrote. “It’s the elephant in the room,” others said.

Some people, however, did not care about discussing Li’s disappearance at all anymore and just expressed joy about seeing him again: “It’s like seeing a good friend after being apart for a long time.”

By Manya Koetse 

Elements in the featured image by @karishea and @kaffeebart.

 

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Chinese Actor and State Security Ambassador Li Yifeng Detained for Soliciting Prostitutes

Li Yifeng is not exactly living up to his role as spokesperson for the Ministry of State Security.

Manya Koetse

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Chinese actor and singer Li Yifeng (李易峰) went top trending on Chinese social media today. The actor, who previously starred as brand ambassador for the Ministry of State Security and played Mao Zedong in The Pioneer, has been detained for visiting prostitutes.

On January 10 of 2021, China celebrated its very first National Police Day to give full recognition to the police and national security staff for their efforts. For this special day, the Ministry of State Security launched a promo video starring Chinese actor Li Yifeng as the National Police Ambassador (#李易峰国安形象传片#). But today, it turned out that Li might not have been the best man for the job.

Chinese official media reported on September 11 that the 35-year-old actor has been detained for soliciting prostitutes. The hashtag “Li Yifeng Detained for Visiting Prostitutes” (#李易峰多次嫖娼被行政拘留#) received nearly two billion views on Weibo on Sunday; the hashtag “Beijing Police Informs that Li Yifeng Solicited Prostitutes” (#北京警方通报李易峰多次嫖娼#) received a staggering three billion views.

Shortly after the news was announced, various brands for which Li served as a brand ambassador announced that they were no longer working with the actor. Lukfook Jewellery, Mengniu Dairy, Honma Golf, Panerai, Prada, Sensodyne, King To Nin Jiom, and other brands declared that they had terminated their contract with Li (#多个品牌终止与李易峰合作#).

Li rose to fame in 2007 when he participated in the Chinese My Hero talent show. He later debuted as a singer and became a successful actor, starring in various Chinese TV dramas and films. Li became especially popular after starring in Swords of Legends and won an award for his role in the 2015 Chinese crime film Mr. Six (老炮儿). He would go on to win many more awards. One of his biggest roles was starring as Mao Zedong in the 2021 blockbuster The Pioneer (革命者).

According to Global Times, Li was previously announced as one of the celebrities attending the Mid-Autumn Festival Gala on CCTV on Saturday night, but his name was later deleted from the program.

“I had never expected my idol to collapse like this,” some disappointed fans wrote on Weibo.

In a ‘super topic’ community dedicated to the star, some fans would not give up on their idol yet: “Where is the proof? Besides the Beijing police statement, where is the actual proof?”

On Li Yifeng’s Weibo page, where the actor has over 60 million fans, nothing has been posted since September 5.

The Huading Awards, a famous entertainment award in China, announced that they cancelled Li Yifeng’s title of “Best Actor in China” (#华鼎奖取消李易峰中国最佳男主角等称号#).

“He lost all he had overnight,” some commenters wrote. “Celebrities generally get cancelled for two things: one is evading taxes, the other is sleeping around,” one popular comment said: “So in a nutshell, pay your taxes and don’t sleep around.*”

“Why do you even need to see a prostitute when you’re so good-looking?” others wondered.

One Weibo user (@大漠叔叔) wrote: “Have a good head on your shoulders and just remember one thing. It does not matter how good your reputation is, or how many titles you have, how much the audience loves you, how much the fans embrace you, how many awards you get, it won’t protect you. Stay clear-headed, merit does not outweigh faults! You can’t cross the moral bottomline nor cross the boundaries of the law. You can be canceled just like that.”

By Manya Koetse 

* This comment is loosely translated here, but the Chinese is quite funny because the words ‘taxes’ and ‘sleeping’ sound similar. “明星塌房的两个主要原因:一个睡,一个税。 简而言之:该税的税,不该睡的别睡.”

 

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