Actor Li Yifeng, one of China’s biggest celebrities, was detained on suspicion of routinely soliciting prostitutes.
Li, 35, was reportedly recently arrested, charged by Beijing police, and had admitted guilt, according to state media.
Leading companies, including fashion company Prada, have pulled the actor from their roster of brand ambassadors after he played Communist leader Mao Zedong in a 2021 movie.
He is the most recent celebrity to face legal action in China as a result of criticism of their ability to influence youth.
With 60 million followers on China’s Twitter-like Sina Weibo platform, Li Yifeng, better known as Evan Li, is a household figure and an incredibly well-liked country. Since 2007, when he took part in a national TV talent competition, he has become well-known.
He has since made numerous TV appearances and dramas before transitioning into acting. He starred in The Pioneer, a historical biopic about the Communist Party of China, last year.
His name was dropped from the list of famous people scheduled to appear at the Mid-Autumn Festival Gala on state television on Saturday, which was one of the first indications he was in danger.
The actor was “canceled,” according to the official China Daily, after being put in administrative prison on grounds of solicitation. It said that he had been fired from his position as a promotional ambassador for China’s top prosecutor’s office after they took down one of his music videos from their channel, which struck what some could consider an ironic tone.
Li’s studio released a statement saying he had “always abided by professional ethics, adhered to the moral bottom line, and actively exhibited social responsibility” before the news of his detention became widely known.
The statement continued, “The comments about Li Yifeng on the internet are false and have been manufactured and circulated maliciously by people with personal agendas.” The post on Sina Weibo was removed after 24 hours.
Despite his enormous popularity, the actor has received little sympathy, which is probably not surprising considering the seriousness of the crimes he is alleged to have committed.
Numerous users of the internet discussed how “embarrassing” the matter must be for him.
“The greatest disgrace in recorded history is this! Li Yifeng, you’ve blown it “read a well-known Weibo post.
Chinese residents have recently been subjected to stern warnings from the government on the necessity for celebrities to be perfect role models for young audiences.
Celebrities were strongly cautioned by Beijing’s top media regulator last year to adopt more “moral” conduct and “actively resist decadent ideals of money worship, hedonism, and extreme individualism.”
As a result, several famous people have been “canceled,” having their online profiles destroyed and their previous works are taken down from well-known channels.
These include the Chinese-Canadian actor Kris Wu, the actress Zheng Shuang, and the social media influencer Viya.
Many people in China have linked Mr. Li’s arrest to Mr. Wu’s, who was detained in July 2021 on suspicion of rape. Such incidents, according to the All-China Women’s Federation, “shatter the public’s goodwill” and are “not isolated cases in the entertainment business.”
Anger over China’s mistreatment of women, particularly the unjustified attack on a group of women in a restaurant earlier this year, is on the rise as a result of the news of Li Yifeng’s detention.
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