5 Chinese Celebrities Blacklisted By Mainstream Media

Chinese celebrities being blacklisted by mainstream media is not a new phenomenon in C-biz. It is not until when Zheng Shuang’s case happens that everyone can finally see how an official ban announcement from China’s National Radio and Television Administration (NRTA) looks like. She has been dropped by many major brands and blocked from all media appearances, showing how scary a ban can be. Before Zheng Shuang, there were many top stars blacklisted by mainstream media struggling to make a comeback. 

This is just an incomplete list including the top stars at the time.

Tang Wei

Tang Wei – one of the Four Dan of China – made her name with an outstanding performance in the award-winning movie “Lust, Caution.” The film was loved by international critics but was strongly boycotted in mainland China due to its bold sex scenes. The movie was even categorized as porn while the female lead Tang Wei was criticized as “disgracing the image of Chinese women.”


Tang Wei and Tony Leung in “Lust. Caution”

In 2008, the actress was banned from appearing in Chinese mainstream media. Tang’s endorsements were discontinued and all public content featuring her was removed. Her role in the next movie was replaced by another actress. The ban caused Tang Wei’s career to suffer.

After two years of studying abroad, Tang made a comeback with the movies “Crossing Hennessy” and “Late Autumn.” The latter did not only bring her great success in Korea but also gave her an opportunity to meet her husband – director Kim Tae Yong. 

Tang Wei and her husband – director Kim Tae Yong

Tang Wei found her ban gradually lifted with several successful appearances on mainland China’s big screens, notably the romantic comedy “Finding Mr. Right.” However, it’s still hard to get back to where she was before the ban.

Tang Wei and Wu Xiubo in “Finding Mr. Right”

Edison Chen 

In the years 2002 – 2007, Edison Chen was one of the most famous male gods in the Hong Kong entertainment industry. In 2008, not only the Asian showbiz but the whole world were shaken by the sex scandal in which 1,300 private photographs between Edison Chen and various famous actresses were illegally distributed over the Internet. 

The young male-god Edison Chen

The affair was so huge that even the Hong Kong police and Interpol took part. Ten people were arrested eventually for stealing and distributing the photos without consent, but that couldn’t save Chen’s career on the verge of collapse. His name was immediately crossed out from a list of film projects, TV programs, and advertising contracts. Due to public pressure, Edison Chen held a press conference to publicly apologize and announced his departure from the Hong Kong entertainment industry. 

Edison Chen apologized at the press conference

Edison Chen then went to the U.S. to escape public attention. Almost a decade after the scandal, Chen has made several attempts to come back to the film and fashion industries, but it’s hard to get back to where he was. 

Ke Zhendong

In the period of 2010 – 2014, with the huge success of the coming-to-age movie “You’re the apple of my eyes,” Ke Zhendong became one of the most prominent young actors in Chinese showbiz. For such a young actor with successful works, a good public image, and a flourishing career, no one could have expected that Ke would be arrested for illegal drug use. 

Ke and Michelle Chen in You're the apple of my eyes
Ke Zhendong and Michelle Chen in “You’re the apple of my eyes”

When the news broke in August 2014, Ke instantly became the target of public criticism and then, was blacklisted by the mainstream media. It’s reported that 19 brands canceled their contracts with Ke Zhendong at that time. His leading role in the blockbuster movie “Monster Hunt” was eventually replaced by Jing Boran as the movie had to reshoot all his scenes. Ke Zhendong held a conference in Beijing to make a tearful public apology, but the public did not buy his words. 

 Ke Zhendong and his parents apologized to the public
 Ke Zhendong and his parents apologized to the public

After the limelight passed, Ke Zhendong has been struggling to find his way back to the film career but the public still turns their heads.

Li Xiaolu 

Born in a family with an artistic tradition, Li Xiaolu had the opportunity to be exposed to acting from such a young age. Therefore, success also came to her early. Li Xiaolu was the youngest actress to win the Golden Horse Award for Best Leading Actress at the age of 17 for her role in “Xiu Xiu: The Sent Down Girl.” She was also referred to as “Little Zhou Xun” because of their resemblance in appearance and exceptional acting skills.

Perhaps the early success made “Little Zhou Xun” slip away from her brilliant path. Li Xiaolu hit rock bottom when the scandal broke that she committed adultery with PG One – a rapper who was 12 years younger than her. It hit hard because her happy family (with her husband – actor Jia Nailiang, and her daughter Tian Xin) used to be a role model to many families.

Her happy family with her husband - actor Jia Nailiang and her daughter Tian Xin used to be a role model to many families.
Her happy family with her husband – actor Jia Nailiang and her daughter Tian Xin used to be a role model to many families

Li Xiaolu and PG One got caugh dating each other by SOHU
Li Xiaolu and PG One got caught dating

The affair caused shock and frustration in public opinion which made her unable to find opportunities to appear on TV again. Most notably, in the China TV Golden Eagle Awards taking place in November 2020, netizens found out that pictures of the former Golden Eagle goddess Li Xiaolu were completely cut off from the video featuring all Golden Eagle goddesses over the years. Her young lover – PG One suffered from the same treatment. His songs were immediately removed from major music platforms such as QQ Music, NetEase Cloud Music, XiaMi Music,…

PGGone’s songs were immediately removed from major music platforms such as QQ Music, NetEase Cloud Music, XiaMi Music,…

Running out of ways to make money from the entertainment industry, Li Xiaolu went from the Best Leading Actress in the prestigious movie awards to a hot girl selling clothes online. Despite so, she has never stopped being cursed by netizens. 

Li Xiaolu is now a hot girl selling clothes online
Li Xiaolu sells clothes on livestream

Fan Bingbing

Before the tax evasion scandal broke in 2018, Fan Bingbing had always been one of the most powerful Chinese superstars with great international influence. The “Queen of C-biz” was no stranger to controversies but still able to stay on her throne for many years. However, everything went downhill when Fan Bingbing was investigated for tax evasion and had to pay a fine of up to 883 million RMB. 

Fan Bingbing was among the most powerful Chinese superstars with great international influence
Fan Bingbing was among the most powerful Chinese superstars with great international influence

The scandal was so huge because not only the top star was involved but the incident itself was related to political and social issues. Fan Bingbing was completely blacklisted by the mainstream media. All of the movies and TV series starring Fan faced difficulties broadcasting. The movie “L.O.R.D: Legend of Ravaging Dynasties 2” filmed earlier with the participation of Fan as the female lead had to use special effects to replace the actress’ face. Luxury brands such as LV, De Beers, Montblanc, etc. quickly removed her images on their campaigns and ceased to mention Fan on public platforms. Fan then stopped updating all of her official social media accounts and disappeared from public view.

Fan Bingbing’s face before and after using special effects in “L.O.R.D: Legend of Ravaging Dynasties 2

Although there is no plentiful appearance as before, Fan Bingbing is taking slow steps to return to showbiz. Through live streams, magazine appearances, and charity activities, Fan has made use of every opportunity to show her face to the public and create momentum for her comeback. However, the way back to regain the throne doesn’t seem easy for her. In 2020, Fan Bingbing and her younger brother Fan Chengcheng’s appearance on the cover of T China magazine was removed as soon as it was announced. 

The removed cover of Fan Bingbing and her brother
The removed cover of Fan Bingbing and her brother

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