Two days after the public outcry over actor Zhang Zhehan‘s past actions that were deemed offensive and disrespectful of Chinese history, the fallout is severe. On August 15, netizens noticed that Zhang Zhehan and his studio’s Weibo accounts have been temporarily muted on grounds of violating community rules. The same day, China Association of Performing Arts, a non-profit organisation backed by the Chinese government, has commented on the issue due to Zhang Zhehan’s recent involvement in concerts and other performance-related activities.
Notice from China Association of Performing Arts
A portion of their statement is as follows: “The Yasukuni Shrine is the symbol and spiritual instrument of Japan’s imperialism in launching a war of aggression, it’s the right-wing groups in Japan rejecting history to romanticize the acts of war. For entertainers engaged in cultural work, establishing a correct view of history is a basic professional ethic, ignorance is not an excuse.
The “Management Measures for Self-Discipline” members of our association believe that actor Zhang Zhehan’s actions are severely inappropriate, it not only harmed national interest but also negatively influenced mass audience of youths. Therefore, our association makes a moral appeal regarding the inappropriate actions by Zhang Zhehan for visiting Yasukuni Shrine, and in accordance with “moral provisions for artists in the performing industry,” require member units to boycott him.
At the same time, we solemnly remind the majority of artists in the industry, to enhance their learning and improve their knowledge. There must not be the slightest ambiguity and hesitation in front of national interest, history cannot be forgotten, the bottom line cannot be moved, punishments must be imposed on those crossing the line.”
Zhang Zhehan’s Chinese Social Media Accounts No Longer Available
As the call for boycott trended on Weibo, netizens noticed that Zhang Zhehan’s personal Weibo account, his studio’s official account and the platform’s super topic about him have all been taken down. His Douyin (China’s version of TikTok) is no longer available. It can be remembered that all traces of disgraced artist Kris Wu were also wiped out in the aftermath of his recent scandal though the nature of it was completely different. The China Culture Administration Association Network Culture Committee (CNCC) released a statement that the actions taken towards Zhang Zhehan’s social media accounts should not have stopped at simply muting the account from making updates.