BTS‘s fan account has been banned by a Chinese social media company. Weibo, China’s largest social media platform, has suspended a fan account for South Korean K-pop band BTS for 60 days, claiming unlawful fundraising as the reason.
BTS member Jimin was the focus of the fan club account, which had over 1.1 million followers on Weibo. The account’s restrictions come as part of China’s campaign to clean up the entertainment business and put a stop to fans ‘irrational behavior.’ President Xi Jinping of China has called for greater Communist Party control of industry, education, culture, and religion as part of a ‘national rejuvenation.’
Since then, the party has limited children’s access to internet gaming and is attempting to discourage what it sees as unhealthy celebrity worship. Last week, the government outlawed effeminate men on television, as well as idol development shows, for having ‘low moral principles’ that could harm children.
After photographs of a customized Jeju Air airliner featuring images of Jimin surfaced online last week, the BTS fan account was barred from posting on Weibo. The club’s preparations to commemorate his 26th birthday in October included the personalized jet.
The act drew a lot of backlashes online because of its over-the-top nature. Following the reaction, the account posted a statement on its feed last week advising fans to be ‘sensible’ while pursuing celebrities to maintain a ‘harmonious and healthy internet environment.’ The organization has been barred from posting on Weibo for 60 days after it was discovered to have raised cash illegally, according to a statement released on Sunday.
According to China’s state-owned media, the fan club began raising funds in April to prepare for the birthday celebrations, raising more than a million yuan ($150,000) in the first three minutes and 2.3 million yuan ($360,000) in the first hour.
The club also planned to place adverts in newspapers such as The New York Times commemorating Jimin’s birthday. It is not commonplace for K-pop fans around the world to announce their favorite celebrities’ birthdays in newspapers and billboards or to decorate public vehicles with photos of their idols.