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Zhao Wei, Fan Bingbing, Jack Ma: Why China is erasing celebrities and rich listers

Billionaire actress Zhao Wei was “wiped out” in China and she is just one of many stars who have been banned.

“Helmsman” Xi Jinping changes course.

The mega-rich. Extremely popular celebrities. He sees these as products of Western ideology. Now he wants to enforce a new “common prosperity” – with Chinese influences.

The sudden “obliteration” of billionaire singer and actress Zhao Wei from China’s social media and entertainment platforms marks a dramatic change in course for the country.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Chairman Xi awarded himself the title of “core navigator and helmsman” last year. Previously, it was reserved for the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP )’s greatest revolutionary hero, Chairman Mao Zedong.

The honorable gives the highest authority. It enshrined the ambitious chairman as the sole controller of every aspect of Chinese society.

And helmsman Xi doesn’t like what he sees. Influential celebrities. Rich entrepreneurs.

The helmsman sees it as dangerous capitalist reefs on which the great ship of the party state could be destroyed. So he turned the tide, hard.

“Capitalism with Chinese characteristics” has had its day. Helmsman Xi wants to lead his people into a new era of “common prosperity”.

But that’s not enough. He’s also starting a massive social reengineering project to clear the way for any possible threat.

Troubled waters

Communist China began an era of reform and “opening up” in the 1980s.

The stated policy was “let some people get rich first”. The idea was that this would accelerate the nation’s efforts to modernize its economy.

It worked. But it came with a price.

The rich got super rich quickly. Others became immensely popular.

Taken together, this meant that individuals wielded significant influence and power, both nationally and internationally.

But that should be the party’s only domain. Communism has collided with capitalism.

Helmsman Xi sees the immense individual wealth of entrepreneurs as a source of competing power. It also poses significant economic risk. The fate of giant corporations taking on massive debt as part of their global domination games could pull China up or down.

That could be why the Communist Party “disappeared” tech billionaire Jack Ma and ended the IPO – issuing shares – of his hugely successful Ant Group.

Its success, and that of many other Chinese billionaires, risked undermining the party’s core principles.

“The rich should bring others with them … focus on hard work and lawful operations,” proclaims Beijing’s new Common Prosperity Policy.

Greed is good?

Lush golden fields. Happy citizens in colorful costume. Smiling workers who selflessly work for the common good.

These are the scenes that are flooding Chinese state-controlled media. But nothing is ever that simple.

Top-class artists have come into conflict with the Communist Party in recent years.

Their fame makes them choice examples. And easy goals.

In 2018, actress Fan Bingbing suddenly disappeared from her high-profile life without warning. A few months later, a humiliated fan publicly apologized for not paying her taxes.

Since then she has hardly been seen.

Last week, TV actress Zheng Shuang was fined $ 62 million. Allegedly she tried to hide all of her income – a time-honored tradition in the West. Several companies have also been named, embarrassed and fined more than a billion dollars in total.

The fate of billionaire actress Zhao Wei – whose name has suddenly been censored on social media and appearances removed from streaming platforms – remains the subject of speculation.

What did she do to infuriate the party?

Some point to their close working ties with Japan and Taiwan. Others say their entertainment company ran into too much debt.

“Any company that makes huge profits but doesn’t offer material goods that do [Chinese Communist] The party believes that society should be more careful, ”warns Chinese analyst Wen Zhao.

Helmsman Xi said it himself.

His speeches speak of preventing an “irrational expansion of capital”. They warn against the “barbaric growth” of private corporations. He insists that his commissioners “must guide companies to obey the party’s leadership”.

Operation chaotic correction

Helmsman Xi Jinping’s vision of Common Prosperity calls for rules. Many of them.

The technology sector was targeted. Likewise the insurance and education sectors.

But entertainment deserves the highest attention.

On Friday, August 27th, the Cybersecurity Administration launched a campaign to break the “rice circle” (wealthy power bloc) of the Chinese film industry.

It prohibits “celebrity worship”. It regulates the “chaos of the fan base”. It requires adherence to the official values ​​of the Communist Party.

Actor Zheng wasn’t just in trouble because of taxes. She had caused a scandal by allegedly abandoning two loan children. Xi asked for his price. Zheng announced, “I apologize for the negative effects of my surrogacy and I am ready to accept criticism and teaching from the public.”

Actor Zhao didn’t just take risks and wield power as a billionaire. It had been seen that she wanted to make friends with China’s greatest cultural enemies. No public admission of wrongdoing or recognition of state authority has yet been made.

Since Xi Jinping Thought is now compulsory classes in schools, the Communist Youth Association has taken up the slogan “virtue before art” – and actively encourages its members to report any “violation of morality”.

Common prosperity

The idea is nothing new. As early as 1953, the Great Helmsman Mao Zedong proclaimed the goal of eliminating public exploitation and eradicating poverty.

Chairman Deng Xiaoping welcomed this idea. It only allowed some to get rich quicker.

Helmsman Xi Jinping believes it is time to gather.

“We can allow some people to get rich first and then guide and help others get rich together,” he said, “but we must also do our best to establish a ‘scientific’ public policy system that is more equitable Income distribution enables. “

Xi has claimed victory in eradicating poverty.

This required a massive private sector incentive campaign.

But now, Xi believes it is time to reign in entrepreneurship and replace it with the ideology of shared prosperity.

On the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party in July, Helmsman Xi presented his navigation plan.

“The party has no special interests of its own – it has never represented a single interest group, power group or privileged class,” he said. “While we have struggled to establish and consolidate our leadership over the country, we have actually struggled to earn and retain popular support.”

It’s a case of Back to the Future.

“We must continue to adapt the basic teachings of Marxism to China’s specific realities and fine traditional culture. We will use Marxism to observe, understand and control the trends of our time and to further develop the Marxism of China today and of the 21st century. “

But no contradiction will be tolerated.

“We must streamline the party’s organizational system, continue to work to improve the party’s behavior, maintain integrity and fight corruption, and eradicate all elements that could harm the party’s progressive nature and purity, as well as all viruses that would affect their health. “

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