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China’s online ‘Kim Kardashian’ banned for being too ostentatious

🌈 Abstract

The article discusses the Chinese government's crackdown on social media influencers who flaunt their wealth and lavish lifestyles, including an influencer nicknamed "China's Kim Kardashian". The government has banned dozens of these influencers from major Chinese social media platforms as part of a campaign to maintain control over China's vibrant social media culture.

🙋 Q&A

[01] Crackdown on Luxury Influencers

1. What led to the crackdown on luxury influencers in China?

  • The Chinese government launched a campaign to curb "deliberately showcasing a lavish lifestyle built on wealth" and "extravagance and waste" on social media.
  • This was seen as a way for the government to assert its authority and appear more moral and upstanding, especially during an economic slowdown.
  • The crackdown targeted influencers who frequently posted about their expensive purchases and lavish lifestyles, which was viewed as promoting materialism and having a negative influence on teenagers.

2. What were some examples of the banned influencers and their content?

  • Wang Hongquanxing, nicknamed "China's Kim Kardashian", had over 4 million followers and would appear online "dripping with jade and pink diamonds" and boasting about owning 7 luxury apartments.
  • "Sister Abalone" was a wealthy socialite who gave online tours of her palatial homes in Macau.
  • "Mr Bo" was a luxury goods junkie with nearly 3 million followers who would carry his dogs around in designer bags and buy customized Rolls-Royce cars.

3. How did the public react to the crackdown?

  • The response was mixed, with some people criticizing the influencers as "annoying" for flaunting their wealth.
  • However, others felt the government's efforts to conceal conspicuous consumption would not actually solve the underlying wealth gap in society.

[02] Broader Context of Social Media Control

1. What is the broader context of the Chinese government's control over social media?

  • The government has been cracking down on social media figures and online trends since at least 2012, as part of efforts to maintain control over public opinion and online behavior.
  • Recent "Clear and Bright" campaigns have targeted various issues, from "gender antagonism" to "class antagonism", in an effort to assert control ahead of important political events like the 2022 National Congress.
  • The focus has shifted to controlling grassroots internet celebrities, rather than state-backed personalities, as the government is concerned about losing the ability to control public opinion.

2. How important is short-form video content to the Chinese government's social media control efforts?

  • Short-form video content has become increasingly popular in China, with nearly 98% of internet users watching such videos.
  • Managing this type of content has become a priority for the government as it seeks to maintain control over the online space.
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