China’s ‘Piano Prince’ Falls From Grace as Beijing’s Celebrity Crackdown Continues

Following Kris Wu’s arrest, world famous “Piano Prince” Li Yundi has become the latest Chinese celebrity entangled with the law after hiring a prostitute.

What Happened: China’s “Piano Prince” has struck a sour chord. On October 21, internationally renowned concert pianist Li Yundi was arrested for soliciting a prostitute, becoming the latest Chinese celebrity to end up on the wrong side of the law. News broke after police in Beijing’s Chaoyang district posted on Weibo that they had received anonymous tips about illegal sex work in the area and launched an investigation on a 39-year-old man, later identified as Li, and a 29-year-old female. Under Chinese law, those caught soliciting or managing sex workers can face up to 15 days of detainment or a fine of 5,000 yuan ($782).

The Jing Take: Although the legal punishment isn’t too severe, the social repercussions will be disastrous. For one, the China Association of Performing Arts was quick to cancel Li’s membership, citing his “indifference to the law and a lack of moral self-discipline,” and even called for his boycott. Meanwhile, the Chinese Musicians’ Association dropped Li for creating “extremely negative social impact.” Online, his profile on Weibo has been changed to remove affiliations with political organizations like the All-China Youth Federation, and his face has been blurred out on the latest episode of the TV show Call Me by Fire.

Li, who was the youngest pianist to win first place at the prestigious International Chopin Piano Competition in 2000, is a household name in China. On top of appearing five times at the Spring Festival Gala, he has also been awarded titles such as “China’s Top Ten Youth Leaders” and “National May Fourth Youth Ambassador.” Given his reputation and commercial value, the artist has cooperated with numerous brands, including Rolex, high-end electronics company Bang & Olufsen, Tom Ford, and most recently, GAC Toyota. Although these international names have yet to publicly respond to the incident, Li’s name is now notably absent from their Weibo pages. It is likely they will distance themselves from Li as other brands have done when faced with similar KOL scandals. Continue to read the full article here