China’s New Social Phenomenon: Religionizing Entertainment

By Ruth Wang, December 23, 2017 03:12 AM

Lu Han,a hot Chinese singer and actor.(Wechat official account of Lu Han )

A new word summarizing a phenomenon in Chinese society emerged this year — "religionizing entertainment".

The birth of the word relates to the reactions of a popular star's fandom.

On Oct 8, Lu Han, the "Justin Bieber of China," announced that he was dating actress Guan Xiaotong on Sina Weibo, a popular Chinese social platform.  The website crashed for hours due to traffic. His fans reacted strongly, and some female fans were even said to have suicidal or self-harming thoughts and mixed feelings.

Chen Zhenduo, a columnist for the Chinese version of Financial Times, commented, "Lu Han is a person we can see, but 'Lu Han' is an invisible god. His followers worship him like a symbol through their actions. It plays the role of a religion."

The writer said that entertainment became a relief for Chinese people who suffered from various of pressures and injustices during the transitional period in the country.

A conversation on "religionizing entertainment and anxiety of the times" between a university professor and college students was reported on The Paper, a news website, on Dec 13.

The undergraduates held that they lived in an unprecedented entertainment era as if watching what happened around stars with a telescope. On the other hand, they stepped into an age of anxiety that we never had before.

- Translated by Karen Luo

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