One after another, celebrities shocked fans with their dishonesty and questionable activities. Last on the list is Huang Wei, popularly known as Viya, who was asked to pay a staggering 1.34 billion yuan ($210 million) in taxes and fines for tax evasion.
A statement released by the Hangzhou Tax Bureau on Monday casts a dark shadow over the once-bright image of the live-streaming celebrity and ‘e-commerce queen’ who was awarded for her charity work and contribution to the fight against poverty.
After reviewing Huang’s tax report for 2019 and 2020, tax authorities said that she had converted her live-streaming commissions into fake business income from several companies and partnerships in Shanghai. According to the tax authorities, Huang also concealed part of his commissions and did not declare his personal income from other businesses, thus evading 643 million yuan in taxes as well as 60 million yuan in sub-taxes. paid.
Before Huang’s case came to light, calls to ‘regulate’ celebrity fan clubs and the indiscriminate worship of entertainment stars resurfaced after the Chinese-American singer-songwriter’s ex-wife Wang Leehom accused him of having extramarital affairs and soliciting prostitutes.
Wang has come under fire from Asian netizens, with some claiming, albeit sarcastically, that the 45-year-old deserves an Oscar for maintaining a “high quality idol” image for decades. And although Wang tried to counter the denunciation and shaming of netizens, various brands abandoned him as an ambassador.
The influence of celebrities is such that many people have formed online celebrity fan clubs, which can sway young minds, engage in online slang matches against each other and spend huge sums of money. money to collect votes for their favorite stars during competitions. There have been quite a few instances of fans, many born in the 1990s or 2000s, raising large sums of money to promote their idols and smear their “rivals”. These young people, mostly students, are easily misled and engage in irrational activities.
The Ministry of Culture and Tourism has pledged to step up efforts to ensure that young people do not become fanatical fans of celebrities and in September issued a notice on strengthening supervision of agencies and celebrities. , in order to create a healthy environment for the development of performing arts industry.
There’s nothing wrong with some people encouraging, even worshiping, a certain celebrity as long as they behave rationally. The problem is that most fan clubs engage in defamation and use online platforms as virtual war zones, which has a huge impact on social order and harms young minds.
Concerns over the growing influence of fandom on young minds, with scandals involving celebrities sparking public outrage. Some of the scandals include the arrest of Chinese-Canadian star Kris Wu on suspicion of rape; actress Zheng Shuang abandoned her partner and their two surrogate babies and was fined 299 million yuan ($46.8 million) for tax evasion; and Chinese actor Zhang Zhehan visiting Japan’s Yasukuni Shrine, which honors 14 Class-A war criminals and is a symbol of Japanese militarism for China.
Fans are emotionally connected to their idols, and the rapid development of social media has brought fans and their idols closer together than ever before. This is why celebrities should always remember that they have a moral obligation to society, and therefore lead a disciplined life and have a strong work ethic. As for the fans, they shouldn’t worship someone who doesn’t have these qualities.
This is particularly important due to the large number of minors using the Internet in China. According to a July report, underage internet users exceeded 183 million in 2020, and the internet penetration rate among underage people was nearly 95%. The report, jointly released by the Central Committee of the Communist Youth League of China and the China Internet Network Information Center, showed that 11 percent of junior high school students, 10.3 percent of middle school students upper secondary and 5.6% of primary school students participated in the online fan club. Activities.
It is therefore incumbent on the families and schools of these supporters to help them think and behave rationally. Celebrities, on the other hand, should guide their fans to cultivate a friendly fan culture and listen to reason. It’s time for rationality to replace blind fans.
The author is a China Daily writer