After three-year-old photos of Zhang Zhehan at the controversial Yasukuni Shrine were dug up by web sleuths, the Chinese actor was dropped by all his commercial sponsors, including Coca-Cola and two Japanese brands, in the span of four hours and was immediately expelled from the entertainment industry by Chinese authorities, including the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.
It is not the first time for a Chinese celebrity to be “cancelled” by internet users. Earlier this summer, pop star Kris Wu’s carefully crafted reputation was destroyed after a two-month-long #MeToo-like movement. Wu was eventually arrested on a rape charge. However, when it comes to the “dignity” of the nation and the “feelings” of the people in particular, the power of cancellation has become vehement and all-encompassing.