There’s never really a dull moment in C-ent. The latest controversy to catch Netizen’s eyes this week is the debut announcement of the group Panda Boys 熊猫少儿艺术团 who literally put the word “boy” in boy band. Comprised of seven members, the newest kids in the block are young boys whose ages average eight years old… hence the controversy.
People always say that any publicity – whether good or bad, is always good publicity. But in the boy’s case, that might not be so. People have already called out the group’s management team, saying using children as a means to make money is simply outrageous and to just let the kids study hard. Why, even one of the government’s official mouthpieces – broadcaster CCTV, weighed in on the topic, saying debuting at the tender age of 8-years-old is completely unnecessary and even called it “child labour”. Stressing the involvement of elementary school students in the game of “star making” as absurd, CCTV even called for ASE, the managing company of Panda Boys, to be thoroughly investigated.
In the face of all the negative attention and criticism, ASE issued a short statement early this morning indicating a change in the group’s Chinese name from “Tian Fu Boys 天府少年” to “Panda Children’s Art Troupe 熊猫少儿艺术团”. The company also reiterated that they are not “cultivating fandom culture” – essentially fan groups formed by superfans of idols, nor are they doing it for commercial gain. “We are just a group of children who love to sing and dance trying to do something worthwhile.”
Update: On August 24, ASE issued another statement announcing the disbandment of the group only 4 days since their debut on August 20.