Chinese actor and singer Li Yifeng arrested for prostitution

A top Chinese celebrity has been hit with harmful prostitution charges, with a string of big brands now turning their backs on him.

This week, news broke that actor and singer Li Yifeng had been detained in Beijing for “repeatedly soliciting prostitution”.

The 35-year-old also reportedly confessed to the charges.

Before details became public, her name was quietly removed from a list of stars who were due to appear at the Mid-Autumn Festival televised gala on Saturday.

His representatives also released a statement saying that Li had “always upheld professional ethics, adhered to the moral bottom line and actively demonstrated social responsibility.”

However, details of the scandal soon began circulating, and within hours at least 11 major brands, including fashion giant Prada, fired him from his lucrative ambassadorships.

Over the years, Li has become both incredibly influential and wealthy, amassing 60 million followers on social media platform Weibo and ranking ninth on Forbes’ Chinese Celebrity List in 2015, 11th in 2017 and 26th in 2019.

But the China Daily has since reported that Li has been “cancelled” following the solicitation charges, while the world times wrote that “business insiders predict his prospects for a comeback are hopeless”.

China has a history of targeting high-profile citizens — especially the ultra-rich and those in the tech and entertainment industries — as part of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s “common prosperity” strategy, which aims to roll back the influence of Western capitalism.

“Common prosperity is the essential requirement of socialism and an important feature of modernization with Chinese characteristics,” the leader reportedly said last year.

“It is necessary to follow the principles of commodification and the rule of law, and coordinate the prevention and resolution of major financial risks.”

Since then, it has become increasingly clear that Xi views independent billionaires and influential heroes as such a risk.

Since its introduction, big names have been caught in the crossfire, including tech billionaire Jack Ma and actresses Fan Bingbing, Zheng Shuang and Zhao Wei, who vanished from public life for months after being “erased”.

Another victim of the crackdown was Charles Xue, a Chinese-American entrepreneur and angel investor who disappeared in 2013 and only reappeared after a video of him confessing to hiring sex workers was shown to the public. national television.

Solicitation appears to be a particular priority for the Chinese government, with top pianist Li Yundi arrested on similar charges in 2021.

Worrying sign, he too then disappeared for seven long months.

And in 2018, China’s National Radio and Television Administration ordered the banning of actors whose “morality is not noble”, who were “tasteless, vulgar and obscene”, or whose “level ideology is low and has no class”.

The organization pledged to ban “actors with blemishes, scandals and problematic moral integrity”.

Meanwhile, Li Yifeng’s public disgrace is particularly shocking after he portrayed Mao Zedong in the patriotic film the pioneer released last year.

Following the scandal, China’s Huading Awards announced that they had stripped Li’s titles of “Best Actor in China’s Top 100 TV Series” and “Domestic Audience’s Favorite Movie Star”. His associations with major brands as well as personal statements regarding the scandal have also been scrubbed from the internet.

Originally published as Big brands drop Chinese actor and singer Li Yifeng on shock prostitution charges

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