Xi´s next campaign: Anti-fan circles and Lenin´s New Economic Policy
The CCP and Xi are starting their next campaign against gaming and fan clubs. Legitimizing its oppression of fan circles or fan clubs the CCP focuses on three main arguments: firstly, profiteering, especially from young people with a socially disadvantaged backgrounds who invest their lives and money for their idol and the star, although they cannot afford it, and secondly, possible use of idols by foreign forces to divide, split and politicize the Chinese youth and society, third, that idols and stars are seen as competition to Xi and his thoughts and that Xi and the CCP do not want to see any other personality cult and God next to Xi and them. It is not for nothing that while the CCP started the anti-gaming campaign, the anti-fan club campaign and the campaign against IT monopolies, the Xi-thought are pushed in the curriculums from elementary school onwards.Here the official comment on the ban of the fan circles in he CCP´s mouthpiece Global Times:
“’Fan circle‘ runs like cults, easy to become ‚target of overseas forces to split Chinese society‘
By GT staff reporters Published: Aug 31, 2021 09:42 PM
Fans think that they are simply participating in an organization to better support and get close to their idols, but, behind the curtain, what they could not see is not only profit-seeking capital eager to manipulate their minds with carefully carved images of their idols, but also dangerous forces awaiting an opportunity to use them to split Chinese society.
With an idol who has been carefully beautified and deified, a group of young fanatical followers and a behavioral model to crack down on dissenters, „it [fanquan, or fans circles] runs like a cult,“ Li Ming (pseudonym), who works for a marketing company as a project leader in the entertainment industry, told the Global Times.
According to a report on Chinese juvenile netizens in 2020, nearly 30 percent of students from elementary to high schools had joined online support activities for their idols.
The industry has been using a psychological strategy to run fandom groups – many of whose members have not formed a strong sense of self, nor the capacity to differentiate between right and wrong – in an organized way, leading young fans to give up their sense of self and turning them into „data workers,“ according to Li.
The development direction of fanquan is to deify the idol to control and push the fans at the bottom to do the work. It is the same model as pyramid selling, Shen Yi, a professor at the School of International Relations and Public Affairs of Fudan University, told the Global Times.
Some fans have told reporters that a fan has to finish a certain amount of tasks per day to join a star’s fan club, including following the star’s Sina Weibo account, reaching at least level 10 on the star’s super topic society on Weibo, and commenting on at least 50 posts. Even so, the fan may be declined.
It takes at least two months for a fan to reach level 10 on a star’s super topic society on Weibo by visiting the society and making posts every day, according to the fans.
Some fans even work harder for the idols as atonement if they think their behaviors bring about troubles and criticism to the idols.
An example is the more united and low-key fanquan of actor and singer Xiao Zhan after a fierce verbal fight between Xiao’s irrational fans and users of fiction site Archive of Our Own.
Xiao’s fans reported the website for letting some users host love stories featuring their idol and his male co-star Wang Yibo from the hit TV drama The Untamed, leading to the site being banned in China and Xiao being criticized by official media for fanquan chaos.
The fans have been given the idea that „love is more important more than money,“ therefore, among the fans, the common logic is „If you love your idol, you have to pay for them. If you don’t pay, then you don’t love them“ has been formed, so fans will volunteer to empty their pockets, Li explained.
This mode gives fans engagement in their idols‘ success. In other words, it actually takes advantage of people’s desire to peep and control, she said.
It is common for fans to raise money to buy goods from luxury brands like Chanel and Hermes for their idols‘ birthdays. Most fans are not rich, but they would rather live frugally to support their idols to gain a sense of inner satisfaction, the Global Times learned from fans.
There is a star-chasing model called „developing an idol“ in Chinese fanquan. It means that the fans follow the idols from the time the idols are very young, and they contribute money and time to promoting the idol’s career, like raising a child. The fans are very proud if the idol grows up as they expect, but they fly into a rage if the child shows any sign of insubordination.
A typical example is the smoking incident of popular boy band TFBOYS member Wang Yuan in May 2018.
After being caught smoking at a restaurant in Beijing, where indoor smoking is banned, a flood of Wang’s fans wrote on social media that they were shocked, disappointed and might even „fall out of love“ with Wang, criticizing him for ruining his „good boy“ image.
Wang, 21, has more than 83 million followers on Weibo. Before the incident, he was listed by Time magazine as one of the 30 most influential teenagers and appointed as a UNICEF Special Advocate for Education in 2017.
Following some idols‘ behavior that either seriously violated Chinese laws or harmed the Chinese people’s national sentiment, such as the tax evasion case of actress Zheng Shunag, the rape accusation against Chinese-Canadian rapper Kris Wu and the visit of actor Zhang Zhehan to the Yasukuni Shrine in Japan, Chinese authorities launched a fierce joint campaign to clean up the entertainment industry and end the chaos in fanquan.
Many stars‘ studios, including that of top idol Wang Yibo, have initiated proposals to maintain a rational fan community.
However, Shen noted that current measures could only deal with the stars or fans, who have done something illegal or apparently wrong, which leaves a vacuum for the management of the fanquan of stars who do not have apparent problems.
But in the end, all fanquan groups would move in a direction to affect others and attack those who do not agree and create conflicts on the internet.
Such conflicts would probably be used by ill-intended external forces to make use of fanquan chaos to split Chinese society, Shen warned.
On October 5, 2020, some fans of actor and singer Xiao Zhan in Southwest China’s Sichuan Province, which is adjacent to the Tibet Autonomous Region, gathered to celebrate his birthday.
Zhan is a Chinese character that means fighting. Xiao’s fans have a slogan reading „We came for Zhan, despite being surrounded by gunpowder.“
However, the slogan and the gathering were twisted by some users on Twitter who said that these people had gathered to protest for the independence of Tibet, and what they shot was „they came for fighting.“ These Twitter users even depicted Xiao as a democracy hero.
In the end, all fanquan in the malformed entertainment industry would be rectified in order to create a clear, healthy environment for youngsters, as well as to cultivate youngsters with correct values, Shen said.
He said that some Western people may not understand these moves, taking them as crackdowns on cultural freedom. But i the moves should be viewed as having the same intention as that of Facebook and Twitter to suspend Donald Trump’s accounts, as his speeches would misguide his followers and at last threaten the country’s political security. “
However, the CCP has long promoted that fan circle business, but now with Xi there is a reorientation. The CCP doesn´t critizise the cult, but the wrong cult. Personality cult of Xi is okay and the hoped-for cult and should be now promoted at all levels, but not cults for pop stars and movie celebreties so much anymore. The CCP is correct if it points out that anti-monopoly demands against IT monopolies like Face book, Twitter, etc. are aired in the West too, that the Trumpists used the social media with their fake news and shitstorms to split and polarize the US society to the point of the storm against Capital Hil and that the gaming addiction is also a bad thing. However, the CCP wants to introduce a Xi personality cult, suppress any democratic or minority view of the Chinese political system and with its social credit system wants to control the whole society without any data protection.Xi has nothing against cult and monopolies as long as it the Xi cult and the political monopoly of the CCP. Economic monopolies were first promoted to get a global competitive size, but are now decentralized and regulated by the political monopoly of the CCP. This is not comparable with the decentralization of the anti-monopoly legislation against Rockefeller´s Standard Oil or with the German antimonopoly ideas of the social market economy of Ludwig Erhardt, Eucken and Armack as its background is not that much the motive to have a free market society with competition, but more that those monopolies could pose a threat against the political monopoly of the CCP.
The CCP since Deng has promoted Lenin´s New Economic Policy in the 1920s after the civil war and the foreign interventions which accepted some market elements within the framework of the political monopoly of the Communist Party of the Sovjet Union, but Deng did it on much larger scale and much more sustainable. Deng was Lenin´s NEP with Chinese characteristics. However the West due to its hybris and day dreaming thought that economic development and liberalization means political liberalization. The West didn´t get rid of that idea, even when Deng stopped Wei Jingsheng´s 5 th modernization, democracy in a bloodbath at Tiananmen Square. And even under Clinton the Engagement politicians and the democracy theorists thought that econonomic development of a middlclass would create Fukuyama´s End of History. There were also illusions about the so called Shanghai gang, Jiang Zemin and Zhu Rongji, as many Anglosaxon bankers thought they were representatives of a more liberal Shanghai comparable to Hongkong as they also wanted to become a financial center and that they would be the Western faction which pushes back the Beijing administration and bureaucratic faction and liberalize China economically and politcally . But Jiang Zemin in 1998 also imprisoned the Democratic Party of China and the Falungong. The democratic oposition was suppressed like the 1848 revolution in Germany and now has as main drivers in exile the religious-facist Falungong or Chinese Trumps like the exiled oligrach Guo Wengui who wants a China First policy. However: Deng and the CCP never wanted a political liberalization or democratization. Deng´s slogan was: Get rich and he hoped for a trickle down effect and the rise of China from a third world country to a great power as it happened.But Deng and his successors always had in mind that economy always develops under the monopoly of the CCP which regulates and pushes back economic and politcal backlashes to the overall development. Deng´s Leninst NEP with Chinese characters never questioned the political monoploy of the CCP.
However, now many Chinese companies have become some sort of monopolies which threaten the political monopoly of the CCP. On the one side, the CCP is proud that China developed such IT giants as Alibaba, Baidu, Huawei, Tencent,etc., which can compete with Google, Facebook, Amazon etc or other non-IT monopolies , on the other side these companies and their CEOs got more power and that was a danger for the CCP. Another calculation was: Better some monopolies you can nationalize as command centers as try to controll alll that millions of petty bourgeois (SME) and start ups. That like Lenin was always the kind of thinking as Lenin wanted to build the Sovjet society like the model of the stateowned German „Post“monopoly. But a nationalization or regulation of the monopolies also means that you have to have competent managers or cadres of the CCP to manage them as otherwise they could loose competivness. So far the CCP hasn´t nationalized the economic monopolies, but tries to regulate them . Therefore Xi´s campaigns. It already at least started with Alibabab´s Jack Ma who was forced to retreat from his CEO position and was replaced by a party loyal manager. And after Alibaba bought the South China Moring Post (SCMP) the newspaper has become now another mouthpiece of the CCP after Xi merged CCTV, China Radio International and other media oultets to a propaganda empire of the CCP. Therefore the political monopoly and the Xi cult is more important than economic factors. And as the Sino-American conflict escalates, Xi and the CCP don´t want to open their society anymore, let economic monopolies or a middle class become too strong as neoliberals like Soros and his Open Society Foundation hope for. No taxation without political represantation is not what the CCP wants as she doesn´t want a (Boston )Tea Party regime change within China.