China Starts Online Discipline Campaign for Local Celebrities

China’s internet and media regulators have announced restrictions that rigorously limit what celebrities, their agents, and even followers may do on social media.

According to the Cyberspace Administration of China, the new restrictions include limiting the number of accounts they may have, prohibiting them from flaunting their affluent lifestyle, and restricting posts that highlight their employment and activities (CAC).

The CAC letter, dated October 26 but made public on Tuesday, was intended to “further tighten the work connected to entertainment stars’ online information control.” It also prohibits photographers from revealing celebrities’ private lives, addresses, or schedules.

Online services, particularly social media and other information aggregators, would be expected to monitor celebrity profiles and report any unlawful behavior to authorities under the new laws.

CAC also required that each celebrity agency have only one account on any social media site, and that fan club accounts be authorized by the agency.

Celebrities would also be barred from overexposure in their daily profession and lives under the new CAC guidelines. Boosting their theatrical and musical performances, as well as any humanitarian activities, will be prohibited. According to the CAC, information on such efforts must be disseminated “naturally,” without any hoopla.

Beginning in June, Beijing focused on online fan circles, or fan quan, which are informal virtual groups centered on an idol. These circles typically get children to donate money to idols and participate in doxing and trolling of competitor organizations.

According to CAC deputy chairman Sheng Ronghua, over 20,000 “illegal” accounts and over 400,000 “harmful” postings have been erased.

The new notice also expressly prohibits trolling, as well as illogical purchasing or fundraising for celebrities among followers.

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