Fans of TV star, Xiao Zhan have driven the Chinese cyber police to crack down on homoerotic content. Here’s an analysis of how a piece of LGBTQA friendly fan fiction has caused mass controversy and division amongst Zhan’s fans.
Who is Xiao Zhan?
Before we dive in, here’s a quick look at who Xiao Zhan is.
Xiao Zhan is a Chinese actor and singer. He’s a member of a pop group, X NINE and has starred in many films, including ‘The Untamed’ (2019) and ‘Oh! My Emperor’ (2018). Zhan is a huge online figure in China, with a very loyal fanbase.
Homoerotic Fan Fiction Of Xiao Zhan Is Taken Down By Chinese state
February 24th saw two pieces of fan fiction uploaded to the popular Chinese site, Weibo. Days later, the user that wrote the fan fiction, faces major scrutiny after they were both seen to contain clear homoerotic content about TV star, Xiao Zhan.
A large number of Zhan’s fans saw the content as damaging to the idol’s image and therefore decided to report it to Chinese authorities. Claims were made that it contained ‘underage pornography’.
Not long after, the publishing platform that contained the two pieces of fiction, was taken down, initiating mass online protest. The site was a favorite among those of China’s LGBTQA+ community and those that enjoy alternative content that is otherwise restricted by government media guidelines.
Zhan himself then faced a huge backlash from users of the site, claiming he was indulging in his fans and did not ‘guide’ them properly. Many began to threaten to boycott his endorsements, leaving harsh messages on his sponsor’s websites and social media profiles.
However, days later on March 1st, Zhan’s fanbase came together to support the Idol after weeks of online hate and abuse. The hashtag, ‘WeLoveYouXiaoZhan’ was trending worldwide.
And, whilst China’s surveillance state continues to make Orwell proud in its highly oppressive thought police tactics, China’s online LGBT+ community suffers as a result.
One tweet celebrating the WeLoveYouXiaoZhan hashtag, recognized that it was trending in 13 countries and was ranking 24th, worldwide. The star still felt the need to apologize despite fan support.