It’s a story that brings together cameras, baking, and a cut scene in the edit, and it’s not about a controversy surrounding the latest episode of “Top Chef.” In China, just a week ago, beauty influencer Li Jiaqi, king of online sales, started live on his teleshopping show followed by 64 million subscribers. The one his fans nicknamed “king of lipstick” presents a cake to promote an ice cream brand. The pastry is flanked by round cookies and topped with a piece of chocolate. Something to think of a tank.
A few hours before the anniversary date of the Tiananmen Square massacre, designating a wave of repression by the Chinese government apparatus on pro-democracy activists who demonstrated peacefully 33 years ago, the more or less voluntary reference to the events that caused thousands of deaths quickly turns into an affair of state. In a country where the reference to this part of its history is completely erased from school textbooks and historical books, the slightest mention of the events of Tiananmen Square is tracked down and redacted on the internet. Almost instantly, the video of the young influencer is interrupted. On the local Twitter, Li Jiaqi evokes a “technical malfunction”, asking his fans “to wait a moment”.
However, the stream does not resume. The star takes the floor again through a second message where he apologizes for not being able to resume his program in the evening due to an “Internet problem”. “Everyone go to bed early. We’ll show you the products that weren’t featured tonight in future streams,” he reassures. Only, the next stream will not come.
For a week, Li Jiaqi’s social networks have not posted any message. The show he was to present on Sunday has been cancelled. But hasn’t the Chinese regime’s censorship had the opposite effect to that expected? The more the silence around the disappearance of Li Jiaqi grows, the more Chinese youth wonder about the reasons for the interruption of the program. Having grown up, after 1989, ignorant of the Tiananmen massacre, many of them wonder. Without answer. On Monday, queries on Taobao, one of the main Chinese social networks, concerning Li Jiaqi no longer yielded any results.