Pianist Li Yundi arrested for prostitution in China


Photo credit: Mumu1982 / CC by 4.0

Pianist Li Yundi was arrested in China on suspicion of soliciting a prostitute.

The crackdown on Chinese celebrities continues, with state media issuing a warning to other celebrities. The government says it must avoid “breaking the bottom line or challenging the law.” China has cracked down on what it sees as “heinous” behavior among the entertainment industry and “celebrity culture.”

Beijing police on Thursday issued a warning saying they had arrested a 29-year-old woman and a 39-year-old man on charges of prostitution. The message did not name any full person, but the man was identified as ‘Li Di’. Police also posted a cryptic message showing a piano with the words, “This world is not just black and white, but we have to differentiate between black and white.” There is absolutely no mistaking it.

Li Yundi became a household name in China after winning the Chopin International Piano Competition at the age of 18 in 2000. He became both the youngest and the first Chinese to win the competition. Nicknamed the “Piano Prize,” Yundi has performed around the world and in several venues, including Carnegie Hall.

The fallout from the arrest began on Friday, when the Chinese Musicians’ Association revoked its membership. In a separate statement, the CMA urged its members to “continually improve their personal ideology and morals.” Li Yundi is just one of many Chinese stars facing legal issues amid the Chinese crackdown.

Chinese-Canadian pop star Kris Wu was arrested in August on suspicion of rape. Fans of the pop star rallied to support him – which led to China cracking down on fan culture. “There is growing concern that fan clubs may come together, in person or online, to stage events for their favorite stars,” said Kerry Allen, BBC media analyst in China. That’s exactly what Wu fans did, but it’s not the only example.

After BTS fans had a plane covered in a photo of Jimin, Chinese social media site Weibo cracked down on the group responsible. They banned the fan page from writing new articles about the group for 60 days, saying using the platform to raise money for the company was “not legitimate.”

China’s Cyberspace Administration has issued guidelines for what it calls taking care of “messy fandom management” to prevent irrational fan worship.

These guidelines include prohibiting minors from spending money on fan club activities and the responsibility of entertainment agencies to run fan clubs – rather than super devoted fans.

“Don’t encourage fans to consume. We must not organize contests to encourage or stimulate consumption, ”reads the guidelines published on August 27. Following the announcement, services such as QQ Music and Tencent Music have banned customers from purchasing more than one copy of an album online.

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