#PopVultures Podcast: China cancels Chinese celebs and cracks down on entertainment industry

This week, #PopVulture Jan Lee hosts ST's China correspondent, Aw Cheng Wei, to discuss about the cancellation of popular boys' love drama Word Of Honor star Zhang Zhehan (left) and actress Vicki Zhao (right), best known for her role in seminal perio
This week, #PopVulture Jan Lee hosts ST's China correspondent, Aw Cheng Wei, to discuss about the cancellation of popular boys' love drama Word Of Honor star Zhang Zhehan (left) and actress Vicki Zhao (right), best known for her role in seminal period drama My Fair PrincessST FILE PHOTO

#PopVultures Ep 52: China cancels Little Swallow Vicki Zhao, Word Of Honor star Zhang Zhehan and cracks down on entertainment industry

48:21 mins

Synopsis: The Straits Times examines the ins and outs of pop culture in the Asian entertainment and Hollywood scene.

In this episode, host Jan Lee is joined by The Straits Times' China correspondent Aw Cheng Wei as they discuss the recent spate of state-sanctioned cancellations of A-list celebrities in China. They delve into two case studies.

The first is popular boys' love drama Word Of Honor star Zhang Zhehan, who was erased off the face of Chinese entertainment after photos of him visiting Japan's controversial Yasukuni Shrine surfaced. Yasukuni Shrine houses Class A war criminals from World War II.

The second is the abrupt and mysterious cancellation of Vicki Zhao, best known for her role in seminal period drama My Fair Princess, which has fuelled vigorous speculation. They share their thoughts on the Chinese authorities' efforts to clamp down on celebrities who are seen as stepping out of line.

Next, they discuss China's increasing efforts to clean up its entertainment scene, after it shut down idol production competitions, curtailed fan clubs and voting activities on social media, condemned toxic fandom culture, criticised the popularity of boys love dramas and "effeminate" male stars. They share their thoughts and insights on what considerations have fuelled this industry-wide clampdown.

Here's a quick look at what they cover:

1. A brief introduction on China's recent entertainment earthquake (0:42)

2. A rundown of the cancellation of Zhang Zhehan and Vicki Zhao (4:08)

3. Jan and Cheng Wei reflect on these two cases and the differing ways Chinese celebrities can be cancelled (10:21)

4. A brief introduction of Chinese authorities' recent moves in cleaning up its entertainment industry (25:12)

5. Jan and Cheng Wei share their thoughts on what is behind the heightened restrictions, curbs and censorship in Chinese entertainment (27:25)

Image references:

Actor Gong Jun: https://www.instagram.com/gongjunhahaha/

Actor Sun Honglei: https://bit.ly/3nXaOBK

Produced by: Jan Lee (janlee@sph.com.sg), & Penelope Lee

Edited by: Penelope Lee & Hadyu Rahim

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