Banning Showoffs

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Chinese Internet regulators are banning online influencers known for their luxurious lifestyles from social media, amid a government crackdown to tackle individuals who “create a ‘wealth-flaunting’ persona … in order to attract followers and traffic,” NBC News reported.

Last week, Chinese users on Douyin – China’s version of TikTok – were unable to view content from influencer Wang Honquan after his account was blocked “due to violations of Douyin’s community guidelines.”

Wang is shown in his videos claiming to own seven properties in the capital, Beijing, and never leaving his home without wearing an outfit worth less than $1.38 million. His posts also highlight his maids, his collection of Hermes handbags and luxurious sports cars.

He was also banned from other Chinese social media platforms, including Weibo and Xiaohongshu, according to the New York Post.

Wang was just one of a number of influencers who have been blocked for posting similar content.

The recent restrictions come weeks after China’s Cyberspace Administration launched a campaign to ban users “deliberately showcasing a lavish lifestyle built on wealth.”

This is not the first time that Chinese officials have cracked down on social trends considered undesirable. In 2022, they issued a “code of conduct” prohibiting livestream anchors from showing or “hyping a large number of luxury goods, jewelry, cash and other assets.”

Observers and former influencers suggested that the restrictions have arisen because China is experiencing an economic slowdown that has impacted the country’s middle class.

Lyla Lai, a former beauty influencer, told NBC that the government efforts are “really necessary,” but noted that a better economy was more important than restrictions in that it should give people “a greater sense of fulfillment and happiness in their lives.”

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