China’s music and arts associations distance themselves from Chinese pianist Li Yundi following arrest for procuring sex services

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Li Yundi’s arrest has left the pianist’s future in doubt. — Picture via Facebook/ Yundi 李雲迪
Li Yundi’s arrest has left the pianist’s future in doubt. — Picture via Facebook/ Yundi 李雲迪

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 25 — Chinese music and arts associations have began distancing themselves from Chinese pianist Li Yundi following his arrest for soliciting the services of a sex worker,

The 39-year-old, who was the youngest pianist to win the XIV International Chopin Piano Competition in 2000, and served as a judge for the competition in 2015, had his name removed from membership lists due to “extremely negative social impact” following his arrest by Beijing police on Thursday night, Global Times reported.

In a post on Sina Weibo, Chaoyang police said a 29-year-old woman surnamed Chen and a 39-year-old man, surnamed Li, were caught by the police.

The duo admitted to the incident and Chaoyang police placed them under administrative detention in accordance with law.

Li’s verified personal tags on Weibo, which had previously been described as “an international pianist, a member of the Standing Committee of the Chongqing Municipal Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, a member of the Standing Committee of All-China Youth Federation, and the vice-president of the Hong Kong United Youth Association,” have amended to “an international pianist”.

Guangzhou in South China’s Guangdong Province has also stopped using Li as the city’s image ambassador.

Known for a positive public image, Li has been awarded the titles of “China’s Top Ten Youth Leaders” and “National May Fourth Youth Ambassador.”

With his arrest, it will now be almost impossible for Li to continue his career in China, as the country vows zero tolerance for fallen entertainers.

On September 13, 14 major internet platforms pledged to tackle unhealthy online posts as well as the issue of disgraced entertainers.

The platforms — including Sina Weibo, Tencent Video, QQ music, Douyin and Toutiao — made pledged as members of the Chinese Association of Performing Arts (CAPA), which called for boycotts against individuals with records of illegal or immoral behaviour.

The platforms promised not to work with scandal-hit entertainers and will instead focus on artists with excellent moral integrity.

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