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China’s live broadcasting queen Via fined £160m for tax evasion


China’s ‘live-streaming queen’ has been fined £160m over tax evasion in Beijing’s widespread crackdown on celebrity culture.

Popular internet star Via, whose real name is Huang Wei, was fined for concealing personal income and other crimes in 2019 and 2020, according to the tax bureau in the southern Chinese city of Hangzhou.

The e-commerce live broadcaster, which has more than 18 million followers on Weibo and more than 80 million followers on Taobao, has since apologized.

“I am deeply sorry for my violations of tax laws and regulations,” she said on her Weibo account. “I fully accept the penalty imposed by the tax authorities.”

Viya, 36, is the latest celebrity broadcaster to engage in a widespread campaign that has targeted tech monopolies but has continued to target private education, social media platforms and celebrity culture.

The popular online personality Viya (pictured) was fined for concealing personal income and other crimes in 2019 and 2020, according to the Hangzhou tax bureau.

Viya is known for being able to sell “anything” through live broadcasts on the Taobao Live platform.

Last year, it sold the missile launch service for 4 million pounds (40 million yuan).

At the online shopping festival recently known as Singles’ Day, she sold products worth a total of 1 billion pounds (8.5 billion yuan) in one evening, according to media reports.

Viya was scheduled to do a live broadcast at 7 p.m. on Monday, focusing on cosmetics. A check of her live broadcast studio on Taobao showed that a reminder of the event had been removed.

Late Monday, Viya’s accounts on Weibo, Taobao Live and the short video platform Douyin were suspended.

VIA is the latest celebrity to be arrested in Beijing’s crackdown, which has included preventing celebrities from flaunting their fortunes on social media.

The e-commerce live broadcaster (pictured), which has over 18 million followers on Weibo and more than 80 million followers on Taobao, has since apologized.

The e-commerce live broadcaster (pictured), which has over 18 million followers on Weibo and more than 80 million followers on Taobao, has since apologized.

Viya’s meteoric rise to fame has been driven by the astonishing growth of China’s e-commerce sector – many aspects of which have come under regulatory scrutiny.

Before the massive crackdown, tax evasion had already spoiled the lives of many well-known figures in the entertainment industry.

Two live-streaming e-commerce influencers were reported under investigation for personal tax evasion last month and together they were fined nearly 100 million yuan. Their live streaming services have since shut down.

The State Administration of Taxation issued a notice in September, announcing measures to strengthen tax administration in the entertainment sector, including live broadcasts.

The office said anyone who reports and corrects tax-related offenses will be given a reduced sentence or even an exemption. State media reported that more than 1,000 people had taken the initiative to pay the tax arrears.

Beijing is on a mission to curb what it calls ‘chaotic fan culture’ and celebrity abuse after a series of scandals in recent months have toppled China’s biggest entertainment artists including singer Kris Wu, who was arrested on suspicion of rape earlier this year. general.

Earlier this year, Beijing authorities fined one of China’s leading TV actresses, Zeng Shuang, £34 million, and ordered producers not to hire her anymore.

Viya (pictured), 36, is the latest celebrity live-streamer to engage with a crackdown on tech monopolies but has continued to target social media and celebrity culture.

Viya (pictured), 36, is the latest celebrity live-streamer to engage with a crackdown on tech monopolies but has continued to target social media and celebrity culture.

Shanghai tax authorities fined Shuang in August for tax evasion and undisclosed income between 2019 and 2020 while filming a TV series, according to an online statement.

Zheng, 30, became a household name in China after starring in the 2009 remake of the Taiwanese drama “Meteor Shower”, and a string of successful series and movies after that.

China’s state broadcasting regulator also pulled Zheng’s offensive TV drama and ordered producers not to hire her for future shows.

The State Administration of Radio, Film and Television added that it has zero tolerance for tax evasion, “high wages” and “yin and yang contracts,” referring to shady contracts commonly used in the Chinese entertainment industry for the real wages of shadowy actors. .

Meanwhile, China banned its celebrities from flaunting their fortunes on social media last month.

China’s cyberspace administration announced yesterday that celebrities in the country will not be allowed to “show off wealth” or “exorbitant fun” on social media.

The rules also prevent celebrities from posting false or private information, provoking fans against other fan groups and from spreading rumours.

In addition, Business Insider reported that the social media accounts of both celebrities and fans will be required to adhere to “public order and good habits, commit to correcting the direction of public opinion and guiding values, promoting socialist core values, and maintaining a healthy style and taste.”

In September, Chinese celebrities were warned that they should “oppose degenerate ideas of money cult, hedonism and extreme individualism” at an entertainment industry symposium hosted by the Communist Party.

Earlier this year, Beijing authorities fined one of China's leading TV actresses, Zeng Shuang (pictured), £34 million, and ordered producers not to hire her anymore.

Earlier this year, Beijing authorities fined one of China’s leading TV actresses, Zeng Shuang (pictured), £34 million, and ordered producers not to hire her anymore.

The meeting in Beijing ran under the slogan: “Love the party, love the homeland, invite morals and art.”

It was attended by senior party officials and heads of show business who were told that they should abide by social morals, personal morals and family values.

China sees celebrity culture and the pursuit of wealth as a dangerous Western import that threatens communism because it promotes individualism rather than collectivism.

Conference attendees were told they should “consciously abandon vulgar and vulgar tastes, and consciously oppose the degenerate ideas of money-worship, hedonism, and extreme individualism,” according to state media.

The state media went to great lengths to urge them to bring about changes in China’s entertainment culture.

“For some time now, the moral failings of artists and legal violations, the upbringing of younger idols, and the ‘chaotic’ mass anarchy have attracted widespread attention in society,” state broadcaster CCTV said earlier this year.

“We must restore a clean and upright literary and artistic environment to the public.”



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