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Has Internet Vigilantism gone too far in China?

Has Internet Vigilantism gone too far in China?

Too busy to get your daily dose of RADII? We got you every Tuesday with a summary of all the freshest takes on China’s youth culture in the last week.

  • We’ve switched to a new, easy-to-remember web address with an exciting INFINITE-SCROLL site experience.
  • On July 17, TFBoys’ Jackson Yee took to Weibo to announce that he would not be accepting a prestigious job offer from the National Theater of China, his decision follows complaints from the public about hiring bias.
  • On July 21, American pastry brand Lady M announced that it would be terminating its operations in the Chinese mainland from September 10 onwards, fans have reportedly rushed to place orders with the popular dessert parlor since the announcement.
  • Inspired by flying insects and jellyfish, Susan Fang's new collection transports us to the fashion designer’s ethereal, pastel-colored world.

Intrigued? Keep scrolling, my friend.

Jackson Yee Rejects National Theater Job After Public Outcry

Jackson Yee and co-star Zhou Dongyu in Better Days. Image via IMDb

On July 17, TFBoysJackson Yee took to Weibo to announce that he would not be accepting a prestigious job offer from the National Theater of China, an institution known for presenting the country’s best theatrical performances. The celebrity’s decision follows complaints from the public about hiring bias.

Since turning down the job, the Chinese internet has been abuzz with conversations surrounding the incident, celebrity privileges, and China’s toxic social media environment.

When the National Theater of China announced seven new acting candidacies on July 6, some netizens immediately questioned Yee’s true qualifications. Actor Hu Xianxu and musician Luo Yizhou, a member of boy band Ixform, are two other celebrities who also received employment opportunities from the performing arts institution.

Netizens began to pressure the National Theater of China for transparency on its recruitment requirements, especially since the position offered to Yee comes with a government bianzhi, which encompasses lifetime job security, housing subsidies and many other perks.

Yee eventually took to Weibo to defend his fair admittance process. According to the celebrity, he attended three rounds of interviews — two in-person and one online due to Covid-19 restrictions.

These Female K-pop Fans Have a New Passion: Esports

When the mobile game Honor of Kings (HoK) was released in 2015, Jessica Wang had zero interest in playing it. Even when her five roommates gathered in her college dorm to play it every night, she kept her eyes fixed on her K-pop idols BTS and turned a deaf ear to the noise around her.

Seven years later, her roommates have all but forgotten about the game, while Wang has picked it up and now considers herself an avid esports fan.

Recognized by the Chinese government as the 99th sport in 2003, China is the biggest market for esports globally (surprise, surprise). In 2020, the country’s domestic esports market was worth approximately 147 billion RMB (23 billion USD), which amounted to about 30% of global revenue. Chinese esports fans were estimated to number more than 400 million that same year.

HoK and League of Legends (LoL) are leading games worldwide that have enjoyed unprecedented popularity in China. Developed by TiMi Studios Group and published by Tencent Games, HoK was the top-grossing free-to-play title worldwide, with more than 2.45 billion USD in revenue as of 2020.

While esports was traditionally dominated by male gamers and fans, female viewership is on the rise. Furthermore, the fairer sex generally has a higher rate of consumption — meaning they are willing to part with their hard-earned cash for events, merch, and in-game purchases.

Data shows that women made up 22% of esports fans worldwide in 2019. And while South Korea has the world’s biggest female fan base, with 32% of its esports followers identifying as women, China comes in a close second with 30%. The United States lags behind with only 17%.

Source: Statista, graph via RADII

In South Korea, top players such as Lee Sang-hyeok, aka Faker, can earn as much fame and fortune as K-pop idols. And just as K-pop has had a significant impact on China’s pop culture, esports fandom in China is also greatly affected by South Korea’s. When China’s top-level professional league for LoL, The League of Legends Pro League (LPL), introduced a few Korean players to the team in 2015, it also brought fan culture to China’s esports industry.

@kda_music from Instagram

Gaming companies also play a part in promoting fandom culture. In 2018, Riot Games, the company behind LoL, introduced the virtual K-pop girl group K/DA, which consists of four themed versions of LoL characters.

So what exactly drives esports fandom in China? We picked the minds of three female fans and discussed their experiences and opinions on today’s esports world.

  • Eating congee in the summer might seem counterintuitive, but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! Check out Zoey Gong's summer millet congee, a RADII-recommended recipe.
  • If Indiana Jones and Tomb Raider count among your favorite film franchises, give the new Chinese adventure series Lost in the Kunlun Mountains a go when it premieres on July 27. And as history has proven time and again, having a ‘little fresh meat’ lead is usually enough for topical C-dramas to secure moderate success.

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