Chinese Censors Target Blackpink’s Lisa and Other Celebs Over Burlesque Performance

Chinese Censors Target Blackpink’s Lisa and Other Celebs Over Burlesque Performance

One of China’s biggest social media platforms shut the accounts of a K-pop superstar and a Chinese actress with more than a hundred million combined followers, the latest example of entertainers facing heightened scrutiny in the world’s second-largest economy.

No explanation was given for the Weibo bans on Blackpink’s Lisa and Chinese actress Angelababy, whose real name is Angela Yeung. But speculation was rife on social media that it had to do with the decision by Angelababy and actress Zhang Jiani to attend a recent show by Lisa at Crazy Horse Paris. Their visit to the burlesque club known for risque performances and scantily clad dancers faced a backlash from more prurient members of society at a time when President Xi Jinping is cracking down on celebrity fan culture.

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In 2021, Xi ordered sweeping action to clean up the entertainment industry, with regulators moving to ban film stars with “incorrect” politics, cap salaries and rein in celebrity fan culture. Authorities frequently warn against “vulgar and obscene” content and have cracked down on after-school tutoring and online gaming, part of a cumulative effort to ensure the younger generation become motivated, patriotic and productive workers.

Angelababy and Zhang will no longer be able to post on Weibo due to “violation of relevant laws and regulations.” Their Douyin, or Chinese Tiktok, accounts have also been blocked. Lisa’s Weibo account appeared to have been fully taken down.

Photos taken by fans posted on social media show the two actresses coming in and out of the Crazy Horse, but they, along with Lisa, have yet to say anything publicly. In a post on Instagram, Crazy Horse said Angelababy didn’t attend the event.

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One Weibo user who goes by the name “JoannBlue” said that the performance “disrespects and objectifies women.”

Often referred to as a would-be Chinese Kim Kardashian, Angelababy has appeared in the Chinese reality show Keep Running and in the sequel to the Hollywood blockbuster Independence Day. Also a model whose face appears in marketing campaigns for some of the world’s biggest companies, including brand ambassador for Christian Dior, she now faces an uphill battle to resurrect her career like other celebrities before her for running afoul of China’s powerful censors and other infractions such as tax evasion.

Lisa’s ban on Weibo may be less damaging. K-pop bands such as Blackpink have already been under an unofficial ban in China since Seoul implemented a THAAD anti-missile system that infuriated Beijing.

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The four-member group, which debuted in 2016, is backed by YG Entertainment Inc., one of the biggest entertainment companies in South Korea. Each member’s contracts with the agency expired in August and they are still in negotiations, according to YG. Blackpink songs are often instant hits at home and have also gained popularity overseas, joining boy-band BTS as trailblazers for the K-pop phenomenon.

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