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Richard Liu’s Minnesota Mug Shots Go Viral on Weibo

The tech mogul’s arrest is a major topic of discussion, many netizens side with Richard Liu.

Gabi Verberg

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The arrest of JD.com CEO Richard Liu, of China’s most powerful tech moguls, has made international headlines and is dominating trending topics lists on Chinese social media.

With over 370 million reads, the hashtag ‘Liu Qiandong Mugshot’ (#刘强东被捕照片#) is a major hot topic on Weibo this week.

On Friday night, August 31, Richard Liu (刘强东), was arrested in Minneapolis for alleged sexual misconduct case involving a university student.

Liu is the founder, chairman, and executive of JD.com (京东). With more than 300 million active users, it is China’s second-largest e-commerce firm after Alibaba.

According to Forbes, Liu has a net worth of approximately $7.9 billion, making him the 18th wealthiest person in China in 2017.

A day after his arrest, Liu was reportedly released without bail. John Elder, the spokesman for the Minneapolis Police Department, stated they are treating the case as an active investigation, but that no formal complaint was filed.

A statement released on JD.com’s official Weibo account on September 2nd said:

During the US business activities, Mr. Liu Qiangdong has been falsely accused. The local police investigation has found no substance to the claim and Liu will continue his business activities as originally planned.”

As Liu’s mugshot has gone viral around the world, he has become a number one topic of conversation. Despite the major international attention for the billionaire’s arrest, many Chinese netizens do not believe Liu is guilty.

“I feel like brother Liu has been set up! I don’t believe any of it!”, one Weibo comment said, receiving nearly three million likes.

“I don’t buy it! My first reaction is; somebody who can control such a big company surely can control his lower body. I think it is more likely that he has been set up,” another typical comment read.

As online discussions run wild, there are strong online rumors on who the woman is who allegedly ‘falsely’ accused Liu for sexual misconduct, with netizens spreading photos of the supposed “instigator.”

It is not the first time Liu’s name comes up in an incident involving sexual misconduct. In 2015, the billionaire tried to distance himself from a sexual assault case that had taken place during a party in his penthouse in Australia.

The New York Times reports that a guest at his party, named Longwei Xu (徐龙威), was found guilty for having sex with a woman without her consent. Liu was not charged in the case, but the tech mogul still tried to have his name removed from the official documents regarding the matter.

By Gabi Verberg

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us.

©2018 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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Gabi Verberg is a Business graduate from the University of Amsterdam who has worked and studied in Shanghai and Beijing. She now lives in Amsterdam and works as a part-time translator, with a particular interest in Chinese modern culture and politics.

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China Celebs

Alleged Accuser in Richard Liu Case: “This Has Nothing to Do with Me”

The woman became an overnight celebrity when dozens of her private photos went viral in connection to the Richard Liu case.

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Jiang Pingting became an overnight celebrity when dozens of her glamorous private photos went viral on Weibo, with strong rumors suggesting she was the woman accusing Chinese billionaire businessman Richard Liu of rape. She has now come forward denying these claims.

Ever since news has come out on the brief arrest of JD.com CEO Richard Liu (刘强东) in Minneapolis last weekend, the mug shot and arrest of the Chinese tech mogul have been a major topic of discussion on Chinese social media.

Liu was arrested on August 31st in connection to a suspected rape, after he had dinner with a group of people at a Japanese restaurant during his business trip in the USA.

Photos of the night show that a woman is seated next to Liu, with Chinese netizens and media alleging that this woman is the Chinese exchange student who accused Liu of assaulting her after the banquet.

Footage show Liu and a female sitting next to him on the night of his brief arrest.

Although Liu was released without charges the next day (status: “released pending complaint”) with JD.com officially stating that all accusations were “false,” the case continued to ignite rumors. Many netizens sided with Liu and claimed that he had been “trapped.”

One particularly strong rumor concerned the identity of the female student accusing Liu, with dozens of photos of a young, curvy woman going viral in connection to this case.

One person spreading photos of the supposed accuser is the internet celebrity Luo Yufeng (@罗玉凤), better known as Sister Feng, who has a fanbase of more than 9 million Weibo users.

“Many private photos have been exposed of the woman involved in the Richard Liu case,” she posted: “She has a big bosom and she looks hot.”

The many photos making their rounds on Chinese social media for the past days show the woman going out for dinners, relaxing on the beach, or posing while golfing.

The photos soon became popular on Weibo, with people comparing the woman with Richard Liu’s wife Zhang Zetian (章泽天).

Left: Liu’s wife Zhang and right the woman who allegedly accused Liu.

Rather than discussing the alleged rape case, many netizens seemed more concerned with the appearance and life-style of the woman, and how her body shape compares to Liu’s wife.

The female, a yoga fanatic named Jiang Pingting (蒋娉婷), became an overnight celebrity.

But now, days after her name and photos were first connected to the case, she has issued a statement on her Weibo account saying:

I am Jiang Pinting! The fact that several large media websites, without verifying, have distributed my personal details and photos assuming I am the female involved in the Richard Liu Minneapolis arrest case, has greatly impacted my reputation and has invaded on my personality rights.”

She further states that her personal life has been turned upside down by the incident.

Since 2010, Jiang writes, she has been residing in Singapore and only recently returned to mainland China. Jiang states:

I do not know Richard Liu at all. We have never met. I’ve not even been to the US recently. This incident has absolutely no connection to me.”

It is not clear why Jiang was brought in connection with the case in the first place.

Some people are critical as to why Jiang only responded to the rumors days after they first went viral. “You first waited to become famous before refuting the rumors,” one person wrote.

“I still think you’re hot,” some among thousands of commenters wrote.

By Manya Koetse

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us.

©2018 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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China Celebs

Strong Online Rumors: Fan Bingbing Has Allegedly Been Arrested in Wuxi

Businessman Huang Yiqing claims on Weibo that the actress has been detained.

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Strong rumors about an alleged arrest of Fan Bingbing, one of China’s most famous actresses, are making their way around Chinese social media today. Fan Bingbing has been at the centre of a tax evasion scandal for the past months.

The Chinese actress Fan Bingbing (范冰冰) has been arrested, sources on Weibo claim.

Rumors about Fan’s arrest come from Huang Yiqing (黄毅清), the ex-husband of famous Chinese actress Huang Yi (黄奕). On August 31, Huang Yiqing posted on his Weibo account (@AndyHYQ) (3.3 million followers):

Some breaking news – I just spoke to a friend whose wife works at the Wuxi prosecutor’s office, who has confirmed that Fan Bingbing has indeed been arrested.”

Wuxi, in Jiangsu province, is where Fan’s studio is based.

Since 2013, it is illegal to spread rumors on Chinese social media; people spreading ‘malicious’ messages that are forwarded more than 500 times could potentially face legal punishment.

Huang later added:

You should know, I’m not just posting fabricated stuff on Weibo for sensationalism to attract attention. I wouldn’t do anything that low.(..) Things I post I know are from a trustworthy source.

Huang Yiqing was the second husband of Huang Yi. He is a businessman and chairman of the Super Sports Car Club in Shanghai.

Famous Weibo blogging account ‘Labi Xiaoqiu’ (@辣笔小球), run by journalist Qiu Ziming (仇子明), also wrote about Fan Bingbing today, suggesting that the actress has already been “taken away” in July, and further adding that she has since also separated from her partner Li Chen (李晨).

 
Fan Bingbing’s Tax Evasion Scandal
 

Fan Bingbing, the highest-paid actress in China, found herself at the center of a social media storm in late May of this year. The actress allegedly received a total payment of 60 million yuan ($9.3 million) for just four days work on the film Cell Phone 2, of which she would have only declared 10 million ($1.56 million) to authorities.

As reported by Radii, the tax scandal first came to light when Chinese TV host Cui Yongyuan (崔永元) leaked two different contracts on social media; the one that allegedly showed that the actress was paid a total of 10 million RMB for her work, with another showing a payment of 50 million RMB for the exact same work.

These types of contracts are called yin-yang contracts (阴阳合同), an illegal practice to avoid paying taxes.

Cui Yongyuan and Fan Bingbing.

Cui later apologized for his posts, Shanghaiist writes, suddenly claiming that Fan actually had nothing to do with the two contracts.

But tax investigations into the matter had already started.

Throughout summer, international media wrote about the ‘disappearance’ of Fan Bingbing, who was not spotted in public since July 1st. Some sources claimed the actress was banned from acting for three years.

In late July, reports came out saying that Fan was banned from traveling abroad amid the tax evasion investigation.

From Fan’s Weibo account, image promoting Fan Bingbing beauty brand.

Fan Bingbing has starred in many famous films, such as I Am Not Madame Bovary (2016) or X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014). She also starred in the 2014 highly successful drama series The Empress of China.

Fan is among the top popular celebrities on Weibo; she has more than 62 million fans on her Weibo account, but has not posted anything since early June.

No official media have yet confirmed whether or not Fan Bingbing has indeed been arrested. There are conflicting articles going around, however, posted by other Chinese-language media, suggesting that Fan was in the middle of the process of getting an American visa approved.

“According to @AndyHYQ, Fan is already detained. According to outside media, she already had her American visa. What’s the deal?”, some netizens wonder.

“We already haven’t seen her for 91 days,” others say: “Where is she?”

By Manya Koetse and Miranda Barnes

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us.

©2018 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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What’s on Weibo provides social, cultural & historical insights into an ever-changing China. What’s on Weibo sheds light on China’s digital media landscape and brings the story behind the hashtag. This independent news site is managed by sinologist Manya Koetse. Contact info@whatsonweibo.com. ©2014-2018

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