Charles Xue Apologizes On National TV For Being An Internet Celebrity

Several places have reported on this, but Global Voices wins top-link for its headline: “Opinion Leader Charles Xue Forced to Prostitute Himself on Chinese State TV.”

Indeed, above, you’ll see Xue, an investor and influential social media presence, issuing one long self-criticism about the pratfalls of celebritydom. Remember, this was a guy who was arrested ostensibly for solicitation. Everyone has always speculated that it was actually for his outspokenness, which Xue seems to have confirmed with his 10-minute self-flagellation. 

Global Voices summarizes:

As an online celebrity and successful businessman, he attended many career talks, being interviewed by magazines and newspapers. His followers reached 5 millions in 2012 and he developed a habit of commenting on news and helping others to distribute their content. In 2013, he wrote in average 80 micro-blogs per day and had more than 12 million followers, a size equal to 3% of the 400 millions total internet population in China.

The CCTV host then commented that the Weibo communication mode has made Charles Xue egoistic because he was surrounded by so many friends.

Charles Xue then admitted that he could not possibly verify every piece of information he re-tweeted and that he was often emotional, not constructive and irresponsible. He said he felt himself like an emperor, “more powerful than a CCP secretary of a local government” as the number of fans he got is more than a major city. As a “star”, he was very high and lost himself.

The Washington Post has translations of more sound bites, including:

“It gratified my vanity greatly,” Xue said of the Internet. “I got used to my influence online and the power of my personal opinions . . . and I forgot who I am.”

And:

“First of all, I didn’t double-check my facts,” Xue said. “Secondly, I didn’t raise constructive suggestions to solve the problem. Instead, I just simply spread these ideas emotionally.”

At the end, he praised China’s anti-rumor laws, the same ones that have drawn criticism from provincial courts and everyone.

“It is very necessary to release these laws and regulations today,” he said in the video. “Without regulation, there’s no punishment for spreading the rumors.”

…“It’s not right for [popular bloggers] to behave higher than the law,” he said in a chastened tone. “If there is no moral standard or cost for slander, you can’t manage the Internet. And there are no limits. It becomes a big problem.”

Xue will probably get a reduced sentence for his cooperation. The authorities got the confession they wanted. Viewers get confirmation that Xue’s a pawn in the government’s anti-rumor campaign. Everyone wins?

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