Saturday, the hashtag #CherieandLinShanShansWeibohavebeenblocked has sparked discussions on China’s social media, gaining a whopping 550 million views. So who are Cherie and Lin ShanShan?
Zhu Chenhui (Cherie) and Lin Shanshan are two top local livestreaming anchors who work with the influencer incubation company Chenfan Group. Amid an industry tax evasion scandal, the two livestreamers were slapped with massive fines by China’s tax authorities this November, receiving $10.34 million (66 million yuan) and $4.38 million (28 million yuan) fines, respectively. And on top of that, they are now being “canceled.”
Over just a few years, China’s livestreaming sector skyrocketed at light speed, and celebrity anchors have become brands’ favorite partners for promoting products in the country. However, a threat lurks behind this rapid growth. This September, the Communist Party announced it would take a tougher stance on China’s entertainment industry by conducting regular tax investigations on top celebrities and online influencers to clean up the country’s online space.
While this news was initially taken lightly by many, actions suggest that these government threats are very real. Beyond being fined, stars and anchors could get blacklisted through China’s version of “cancel culture.” On November 23, the China Association of Performing Arts announced it was banning 88 entertainers who, in its opinion, violated the country’s moral standards. The list, which includes fallen stars like Kris Wu, Zhang Zhehan, Zheng Shuang, and now probably Cherie and Lin Shanshan, bans these entertainers from accessing or appearing on livestreaming platforms and any form of public exhibition, meaning the end of their careers forever.
In light of this, brands must keep abreast of the blacklist to avoid becoming Chinese netizens’ next target. But China’s enhanced regulations aimed at livestreaming may benefit luxury brands in the long run. Livestreaming’s existing issues, such as counterfeits, infringement of consumer rights, and false advertising, have kept high-end houses away from the sector. But perhaps, with tightening controls, it can become a bright spot for luxury Maisons.