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Why Was Zhao Wei Removed From Chinese Streaming Sites And Social Media?

Benzinga logo Benzinga 8/27/2021 Phil Hall
Zhao Wei et al. looking at the camera © Provided by Benzinga

The Chinese government has enacted a complete erasure of all mentions of actress Zhao Wei from the country’s social media and streaming.

What Happened: Zhao, who is also known as Vicky Zhao, starred in the popular productions “My Fair Princess,” “Shaolin Soccer” and “Lost in Hong Kong.” The Hollywood Reporter noted all entries mentioning Zhao on Chinese social media platforms including Weibo (NASDAQ: WB) have been taken down while were removed and content featuring her on the streaming sites Tencent Video and iQiyi (NASDAQ: IQ) has been removed. Chinese websites that include her credits have also been edited to omit her name.

The Global Times, a media resource backed by the Chinese Communist Party, identified Zhao as a “billionaire actress” and “Italian luxury fashion brand Fendi's China brand spokesperson” but didn't identify why Zhaos’ presence was scrubbed from online sites or who ordered this action. Instead, it stated Zhao had been “entangled in various scandals over the years” and cited she was being sued by 67 investors seeking $7.45 million “for a misleading takeover in 2016.”

Related Link: Sony Executives Slam Disney For Simultaneous Theater-Streaming Film Releases

Why It's Important: Zhao is the second Chinese performer to disappear from the nation’s online sites this month. Two weeks ago, actor Zhang Zhehan earned the digital equivalent of persona non grata status after posing for photographs at the Yasukuni Shrine, a Tokyo memorial to Japan’s fallen soldiers that many Chinese have criticized as encouraging a revisionist consideration of Japanese military history.

Another Chinese performer, actress Zheng Shuang, was also in the nation’s spotlight when she was served with a $46.1 million fine for alleged tax evasion. Zheng, who is best known for the series “Meteor Shower,” was accused of failing to report her income for 2019 and 2020.

China’s tax regulator also asked the country’s streaming sites to remove programming featuring Zheng and requested film and television production companies not to hire her.

Photo: Zhao Wei in the 2016 film “Three,” her last feature film performance to date. Courtesy of Iqiyi Pictures.

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