Chinese streamers to be sent on patriotic tours after star mocked the Nanking Massacre
Before a storm of outrage erupted this week, Chen Yifaer was the darling of Douyu.
Beloved for her fearless personality and straight talk, the architect-turned-internet celebrity hosted up to five-hour long streaming sessions almost every night on China’s Twitch-equivalent -- singing karaoke, playing World of Warcraft, and answering all sorts of questions from fans (example: “Is it embarrassing to be a virgin at 21?”).
It was one of these unrestrained monologues that came back to haunt her this week, when a video from two years ago started circulating on the web -- showing Chen making fun of the 1937 Nanking Massacre and Japan’s invasion of China, while a Japanese song was playing in the background.
To put this into context, this was very much like last year when people found out that YouTube sensation PewDiePie made Nazi references and anti-Semitic jokes in his videos.
Needless to say, China’s netizens are furious.
“She’s making fun of our national humiliation. I strongly demand that she be blocked,” one person wrote on Weibo.
Another said, “How can she humiliate our Red Army heroes who fought a bloody battle?”
Douyu was quick to draw a red line with Chen, condemning her actions for “causing bad social impact”. She’s now banned from live-streaming on the platform, and her account currently says she’s “taking a break for a few days.”
Beyond that, Douyu has also pledged to launch a “patriotic education campaign” for all hosts -- taking them on regular visits to history museums and revolutionary landmarks to make sure that they “understand and remember history.”
In China, it’s not unusual to see online platforms offering profuse apologies and remedial measures after being called out for inappropriate content. Failure to take care of such concerns, especially after criticism from state media, could mean being banned forever.
In May, Weibo deleted a popular rage comics account after it made fun of a communist martyr. Before that, a humor app that had 17 million users was shut down after the state watchdog said it carried "misleading and vulgar content."
Companies have learned to address problems before it’s too late. Just last week, anime site Bilibili promised to boost its content reviewing efforts after being summoned to a meeting with government authorities.
As for Chen, she’s also apologized -- saying she has volunteered to receive “revolutionary education.” But the reactions are split.
One supporter wrote, “It was just a slip of the tongue from the past. She’s realized her mistake... Sincerely hope that everyone can understand and forgive her.”
“You guys have no shame -- what do you think protecting your country means?” another person responded. “I’m worried about the future of this country.”