CHINA People's Daily Tonight: Podcast News (10/20/2019 Sun.)


People's Daily Tonight: Podcast News (10/20/2019 Sun.)

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18:15, October 20, 2019



This is People's Daily Tonight, your news source from China.


Chinese netizens call for an end to cyberbullying following K-pop star Sulli’s death

The sudden death of 25-year-old South Korean singer Sulli has ignited heated discussion on Chinese social media, with many netizens in the country calling for an end to cyberbullying.


File photos: VCG

Sulli's manager found her dead at home on Tuesday in Seongnam, South Korea after Sulli failed to answer phone calls, said Kim Seong-tae, an official from the Seongnam Sujeong Police Department. According to police, the death is being investigated as a possible suicide, but they have not ruled out other possibilities. Many Chinese netizens also suspect that Sulli committed suicide, as the singer had previously mentioned in public that she had suffered from panic disorder since she was young.

In a statement sent to reporters, SM Entertainment, Sulli's agency, said her death was "very hard to believe and sorrowful," Billboard reported.

According to a statement from her family, her funeral will be a private event.

The hashtag for Sulli's death has earned 3.73 billion views on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo, with many netizens paying tribute to the star and lamenting her death.

VCG111190409191.jpgSulli began her singing career in 2009 as a member of the girl band f(x), one of the most popular groups in South Korea and an act that helped take the K-pop movement global, and also acted in numerous television dramas and movies.

A life of fame was apparently not easy for the young star. In 2014, at the age of 20, the idol took a temporary break from the group due to mental and physical exhaustion from malicious comments she was receiving online. The following year, she left the group for good to pursue acting.

A controversial celebrity in South Korea, she once was criticized for not wearing a bra in public and during a live Instagram stream. Many unfriendly netizens continued to attack her online throughout her career, cyberbullying that many netizens see as possibly contributing to her death.

"What is wrong with the world? When you die, the world suddenly loves you. Those who once used vicious words to attack her when she was alive, please be kind," one netizen commented on Sina Weibo.

The attacks against the star are not limited to her alone.

"South Korea's special national conditions and political environment have led to the existence of gender opposition and male superiority," Shi Wenxue, a film critic and teacher at the Beijing Film Academy, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

According to Shi, South Korea ranked 115 out of 149 countries in the 2018 Global Gender Gap Report, which shows women in South Korea are in a lower position in society, including the entertainment industry.

One horror story from the South Korean entertainment industry is the case of South Korean actress Jang Ja-yeon. According to a report from South Korean news site Koreaboo, the star killed herself at the age of 29 after she had been sexually and physically abused by a number of prominent entertainment executives throughout her career.

The pressure facing young female stars from outside the industry is also extreme as South Korean entertainment companies' monopolization in the industry means that can force aspiring idols to sign extremely strict contracts.

Although some female stars may encounter horrifying online abuse, if they decide to pull back from pursuing fame stipulations in their contracts mean they lose all material benefits. In the end, the price of fame seems to be having to endure constant online abuse.

For many the price of working in the entertainment industry is too high. According to a report from China's CCTV News, more than 30 people working in the South Korean entertainment industry have committed suicide in the past 10 years.

Shi noted that cyberbullying against celebrities is actually a mix of complex reasons such as hatred of the wealthy, a desire for control and jealousy. Due to the anonymity that the internet brings, some keyboard warriors feel free to vent their negative emotions onto public figures.

"Anyone can be an attacker, and anyone can be a victim. I strongly oppose cyberbullying and hope it can be eliminated as soon as possible through national laws, social policies and internet technology," Shi said.


And that's People's Daily Tonight. Thanks for joining us.

(Produced by He Jieqiong; text from Global Times)

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