Using a Chinese expression meaning to make an example of someone or something, Mr. Gao added, “They kill the chicken to scare the monkeys.
The shutdown of popular entertainment-related accounts that weren’t in the celebrity gossip business was of particular concern to many fans and industry watchers. One of them was the WeChat public account of famous movie review blog Dushe Dianying, which still had more than 4.8 million followers on Weibo. In July, Chinese media reported that Dushe Dianying was valued at around $44 million, after completing an initial round of funding.
“Generally, China’s leaders have been obsessed with containing negative coverage, and under Xi Jinping we’ve seen a pretty dramatic decline in serious coverage by Chinese media,” said David Bandurski, editor of the China Media Project at the University of Hong Kong. , said in emailed comments, referring to the Chinese president. “What we are seeing now is a war on the unserious.”
“It is no longer enough for media content to avoid the negative,” he added. “He has to be positive enough.”
The shutdowns come after a new cybersecurity law took effect last week and new regulations issued by China’s Cyberspace Administration regarding the provision of information through social media platforms like WeChat. According to the regulations, all online publishers – including websites, apps, blogs and social media accounts – must obtain permissions from authorities in order to publish news or comment on the news.
“These regulations could have quite a dramatic impact on the public account ecosystem on WeChat and the wider online space,” Bandurski said. “It’s something we have to watch closely.”
Some of the affected accounts have already started to consolidate. As of Thursday morning, Go Ying Studio, known for its celebrity photos and gossip, had created a new account and issued an official apology. “For us, this was a very profound lesson,” the statement said. “We wholeheartedly accept criticism and help given to us by different sectors of society, and from now on, we will make sure to strengthen our own thinking and moral education.”