lørdag 24. juli 2021

The Kris Wu Sex Scandal and China’s Search for Morality in Public Figures

“I think the people in my grade are too immature,” Kevin Li told me at the English class we attended at Point Grey Secondary in Vancouver. Through our interactions in high school, Kevin left me with the impression of a charming person with marked confidence, perhaps borderline egoistic. He vanished from class one day; the word was that he had been recruited by a talent scout during a trip to Korea. He appeared on screen years later, with a new name: Kris Wu.

Kris Wu, having gained stardom in China, became the focus of a sex scandal in the past few days. He has denied the allegations of rape and sex with minors, but the public is largely unconvinced given Wu’s similar scandals in the past and that over 20 girls have now claimed to be victims or potential targets of Wu’s “sexual predation.”

In the wake of the Kris Wu scandal, a quasi #MeToo movement has erupted on China’s social media sphere. People are using the hastag “GirlsHelpGirls” to bump up discussions on sex abuse, the general tolerance shown to the sexual acts of male celebrities, and “capitalists” allowing such cases to be suppressed and silenced using wealth and power. The authorities’ attention, was, however, on something else: the morality of public figures – an important element in the leadership’s vision of the “moral construction of society.”