Famed pianist Li detained for alleged misdeed

(China Daily) 13:48, October 23, 2021

Pianist Li Yundi. (Photo/People's Daily Online)

The China Association of Performing Arts has called for a boycott of renowned pianist Li Yundi after he was reportedly detained for alleged involvement in prostitution.

"As a public figure, Li's behavior shows his indifference to law and lack of moral self-discipline. His act violates laws and disobeys social ethics, resulting in a negative effect," the association said in a notice issued on its official WeChat account on Friday.

"Therefore, we reprimand Li for his violation," it added, reminding performers to strengthen self-examination and enhance awareness of lawfulness as well as regulate their words and behavior.

The association made the announcement after information about Li's detention was disclosed late on Thursday, triggering significant public interest.

On Thursday night, police in Beijing's Chaoyang district posted on Sina Weibo, China's Twitter-like platform, that they had received reports that someone was engaged in prostitution in a Chaoyang community recently.

After an investigation, a 39-year-old man surnamed Li, along with a 29-year-old woman surnamed Chen, were detained, police said, adding that the pair confessed to the illegal activity and have both been placed under administrative detention.

Under Chinese law, those engaged in prostitution will be detained for 10 to 15 days, and can also be fined up to 5,000 yuan ($781).

The police did not give more details about the identities of those detained, but the Beijing Public Security Bureau posted a picture of a piano on its Weibo account and commented: "The world is indeed more than black and white, but it's important to distinguish and draw a clear line between black and white."

Soon, many netizens and Chinese media, including People's Daily, came to believe that the detained man is in fact Li, the world-renowned pianist born in Chongqing, who has more than 20 million followers on Weibo.

On Friday, the Chinese Musicians' Association also said in a statement that it has canceled Li's membership, saying it made the decision because the case has brought great negative impact on society.

Meanwhile, the Sichuan Conservatory of Music, Li's alma mater, deleted his information on its social media accounts, according to Sichuan-based news outlet Red Star News.

A few brands also announced a cessation of ties with Li, and some TV shows involving him have also gone dark on a series of platforms. According to Guangzhou Daily, Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, has canceled Li's qualification as a spokesperson for the city.

Li was propelled to fame by winning first prize in the XIV Chopin International Piano Competition at the age of 18, becoming the youngest and the first Chinese winner in the history of the competition.

He performed at the Spring Festival Gala, the largest annual stage performance in China, several times, and was awarded the titles of "China's Top 10 Youth Leaders" and "National May Fourth Youth Ambassador".

(Web editor: Meng Bin, Bianji)


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