China backs ‘virtual youth icons’ as real youth icons take drugs and do sex scandals

China, which is known to exercise strict controls over the way its citizens behave and even think, has now taken this desire to control thoughts and deeds to the next level by using “virtual youth icons” to “to instill correct thinking into the younger generation”.

One of these virtual youth icons is Luo Tianyi – a holographic figure that sings – who is all set to become an ambassador to promote Chinese culture and Made in China products to young people, state run media Global Times reported on Thursday.

Luo Tianyi is supposed to be a young girl who performs as a singer in stadiums and concerts. A concert by her in June this year in Shanghai was reportedly attended by thousands of young fans. 90% of her songs are written by her fans, and selected songs are added in the official catalogue, later to be performed in public. State media said that fans expect more and more ‘red songs’ from her.

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virtual singer and her fans
Chinese youth being floored by songs of Luo (pic: Global Times)

Luo could be having a fan base of millions, the state media claims, and this popularity has won her attention from the Communist Youth League of China (CYLC) – which is the youth wing of the Communist party of China – and other governmental organisations

CYLC has reportedly ‘recruited’ Luo to become their ‘youth ambassador’ and many governmental organisations has used her as ‘spokesperson’ to ‘promote positive values to the youth’.

“They (virtual idols) are easier to manage, different from real-life stars who make their own decisions and do things the way they like, which is hard to control. Virtual idols can be modeled the way you want them to be. They only show what you instill in them,” the developer of such ‘virtual youth icons’ was reported as saying by the state media, hinting why the communist party is promoting them.

“Indeed, virtual icons like Luo Tianyi could cause zero harm to youngsters as they won’t yield to any temptation like drugs or get involved in any sex scandals. In recent years, a number of popular human celebrities were found to be drug users or sex addicts. It’s also not uncommon to find stars falling from the public’s worshiping altar after making an ethnical mistake,” the state media approvingly commented about CYLC’s support for such virtual youth icons.

While these virtual youth icons have impressed the Communist party, there are some voices that believe that use of such technology and fandom is a ‘sign of not loving China’, for this type of idol/anime subculture originated in Japan.


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