Disclaimer: All information presented here is purely based on news articles and reports surrounding the mentioned Chinese celebrities throughout the years as well as accumulated speculation from the public. There are many sides to this story and this article does not claim to have presented all of them.
Recently, people have been spreading the word to #BoycottMulan because actress Liu Yifei shared her support with the Hong Kong police on her social media account. If you didn’t know, the Hong Kong police have been violently restraining and fighting against protesters who are calling for Hong Kong’s freedom from China.
However, Liu Yifei isn’t the only Chinese actor who has posted this message on their social media. Big Chinese celebrities such as EXO’s Lay (Zhang Yixing) also posted the same banner with similar captions on his social media accounts and Jackie Chan publicly supported Beijing against Hong Kong protesters. While fans have expressed their disappointment in their Chinese idols, some have backed them up by claiming that the celebrities did not have a choice in the matter. This leads us to our conspiracy theory.
EXO Lay and Jackie Chan’s Posts on Twitter and Weibo
Are Chinese celebrities being forced into publicly supporting Chinese politics?
Let’s go back to the year 2016 when the issue about China’s 9-dash line was a big thing in the Philippines and other parts of Southeast Asia. Almost simultaneously, Chinese celebrities posted a photo of China with their 9-dash line with a hashtag that roughly translates to “China cannot be any smaller”.
Something similar came up after the Golden Horse Awards in 2018. The awards show is treated as the Oscars of Chinese cinema. When one Taiwanese filmmaker expressed her desire for Taiwan’s independence, tension rose between Taiwan and China. Celebrities quickly posted their support for China, counteracting any Taiwanese independence sentiments that rose with the filmmaker’s speech.
Following what is now tradition, Chinese celebrities have also supported Hong Kong’s police brutality against their citizens. These instances of mass posting and mass support always bring up the issue of whether or not Chinese artists have any say in the matter. Do they stand by their statements? Or are they being blackmailed, somehow, by their nation to become its political mouthpieces?
Image: Ilgan Sports
Some fans, especially of the k-pop variety who have a handful of Chinese k-pop idols to deal with, have expressed that their idols don’t have a choice in the matter because the Chinese government controls everyone. Meanwhile, on the other side of the spectrum, upset fans are insisting that these idols had a choice whether or not to post their support publicly.
But what does happen when someone from China disobeys the state?
In 2016, k-pop girl group TWICE member Tzuyu, a Taiwanese citizen, was put under fire for simply waving a Taiwanese flag in a TV program in Korea. It caused such an outrage with mainland Chinese citizens that she had to apologize multiple times and release an official statement saying that she supports One-China.
Tzuyu | Image: My Little Television
Fast forward to 2018 when it was widely spread that Chinese superstar Fan Bingbing went missing for a period of time and was reportedly banned from acting for three years after she was accused of tax evasion. These rumors circulated for months before it was revealed that she has paid off her tax debt and has apologized for her actions. No one knows if she was really detained and “held captive” but these days, she’s been pretty much living the same life she lived before the incident. She was even recently cast in a Hollywood film alongside Jessica Chastain and Lupita Nyong’o.
Fan Bingbing is the highest-paid actress in China | Image: Shutterstock
Again, this is just a conspiracy theory that has been floating on the internet. These celebrities may or may not be in support of their government. Until they themselves reveal the truth, we’re still pretty much in the dark.
What do you think about this conspiracy theory? Do you think it could be real or is it something people made up?
Sources: CEnt News 1, Asian Junkie, Daily Mail