China's 'Kim Kardashian' Banned From Social Media For Flaunting Wealth, Sparking Debate: 'Trend Of Luxury On The Internet Needs To Be Stopped'


The Chinese authorities have banned a prominent social media influencer nicknamed “China's Kim Kardashian,” sparking a debate on the Xi Jinping-led government’s control over online content.

What HappenedWang Hongquanxing, a social media influencer known for his extravagant lifestyle including expensive clothing and jewelry, has been banned from various Chinese social media platforms, reported Financial Times.

The sudden online disappearance this week of Wang, who once claimed he never left home in jewelry and clothes worth less than Rmb10mn ($1.4mn), is part of the government's latest effort to assert control over China's dynamic social media landscape.

Wang, along with several other influencers, has been banned from platforms such as WeiboDouyin, and Xiaohongshu. Their profile pages have been declared inaccessible due to “violation of self-discipline” rules.

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“This is a highly visible spectacle that reminds people of the authority's power,” said Carwyn Morris, assistant professor of digital China at Leiden University, adding, “It is likely that many people do see this sort of content as vulgar, particularly during an economic slowdown.”

The campaign began in April when the Cyberspace Administration of China, the internet watchdog, announced plans to curb behaviors such as “deliberately showcasing a lavish lifestyle built on wealth.”

“Once materialism starts spreading, it can have a bad influence on teenagers . . . Hence this trend of luxury on the internet needs to be stopped,” state media Beijing News wrote on Wednesday.

Why It Matters: Beijing’s efforts to regulate social media influencers date back to at least 2012, when it shut down the accounts of prominent opinion leaders, according to Luwei Rose Luqiu, an associate professor at Hong Kong Baptist University.

“The focus has shifted to grassroots internet celebrities . . . to strengthen control of the internet due to the concern about losing the ability to control public opinion and the behavior of the people,” Luqiu stated.

The latest crackdown has also elicited mixed reactions, with some praising influencers like Wang—a charity sponsor admired for his candid style—while others criticize them.

One person commented, “Internet celebrities are already pretty boring, and flaunting wealth just makes them even more annoying.” However, another opposed the development saying, “It's hilarious — it turns out [the government's] method for solving the wealth gap is to blindfold the poor so they can't see it.”

Image created with Dall_E 3

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