The Chinese film industry imposed strict drunk driving guidelines against its members after an actor died in a recent drunk driving incident.
Actor Liu Shuo succumbed to his injuries after he drove his car into a guardrail in Hengdian, Zhejiang in the early hours of April 29. A test of his blood revealed Liu had been driving with a blood alcohol level of 230mg/100ml.
In the wake of Liu’s death, the Hengdian film industry has initiated an anti-drunk driving campaign that will require all of its members to voluntarily sign a contract that will blacklist any actor caught driving while inebriated. Future members will have to sign upon joining, and all members are compelled to expose violators to the public.
As one of the nation’s centers for film production with 126 productions so far this year alone, a large portion of Hengdian’s population are involved in making films, consisting of 50,000 of the city’s population of 130,000.
Hengdian police, entrusted with enforcing the contract, said 16 of the 161 people arrested in the city for drunk driving in the one-year period since last May are from the local film industry.
The entertainment industry has previously had its members sign contracts accepting responsibility after an anti-drug crackdown caught a number of Chinese celebrities that include Jackie Chan’s son, Jaycee Chan.
In 2014, the Beijing Trade Association for Performances and other industry groups agreed to blacklist any member found to have been involved in illegal drug activities. The year afterwards, Chinese officials effectively banned from broadcast any works by entertainers found to have been using drugs or visiting prostitutes.
China clamped down on drunk driving in 2011, making an example of musician and China’s Got Talent judge Gao Xiaosong by jailing him for six months. And yet, the very next year saw actor Wang Zhiwen receive a fine of just 1,000 yuan and a suspended license for 6 months for driving while intoxicated, a crime Wang had committed before on multiple occasions.
China’s most infamous drunk driving incident occurred back in 2010 when 23-year-old Li Qiming responded to not having stopped after striking and killing a college student while under the influence by loudly retorting, “My father is Li Gang,” a phrase that became one of that year’s biggest internet catchphrases. Li Qiming was eventually sentenced to seven years in jail for “causing traffic casualties.”
Presently, the maximum penalty for drunk driving in China is three years’ imprisonment and lifetime license suspensions for violators with blood alcohol levels in excess of 0.08 percent.
Chinese netizens reacted to Liu’s death by angrily denouncing people who drive while intoxicated. One person wrote “These type of people deserve to die since they haven’t learned anything good. How can you drive after becoming inebriated?” Another said, “I don’t recognize this celebrity, but there’s nothing good about driving while drunk. It’s just fortunate that he only killed himself.”
A graduate of the renowned Beijing Film Academy, Liu was an industry veteran who had made his name portraying villains in such films and television shows like Four Prominent Young Men of Capital City, Buddha Jumping Wall, and Wudang 2.
Liu leaves behind a wife, who is expecting to give birth soon.
— This article originally appeared in the Beijinger.