Chinese actor Zhang Zhehan, known for starring in the Chinese boys’ love drama Word Of Honour, filed a police report over defamation last Friday (24 December). It has been four months since his presence on Chinese websites were wiped off the internet by the Chinese media.
Back in August, his controversial photos were taken near the main building of the infamous Yasukuni Shrine, which honours some of Japan’s worst war criminals, resulting in a boycott of him in the Chinese entertainment industry. The actor went from a rising star to a nobody practically overnight, losing all of his endorsements and upcoming dramas and movies.
Even though Zhang made an apology through his Weibo, claiming that he was ignorant about the local buildings and history when taking photos in Japan, and was not careful about what he captured in his photos, it did little to ease the situation. It was not long before Chinese netizens started to label him as a traitor and being pro-Japanese. Due to the formidability of cyber violence and public opinion, the Chinese police could not accept his case then, making Zhang lose any legal remedy channel that all citizens are entitled to.
It was only until recently, when things have significantly died down, that he was encouraged to report his case to the Beijing police. Experts in the political and legal systems cite the reason that these malicious defamations have caused serious personal attacks, which constitute the basis of a criminal case.
A photo showing the Beijing police’s acceptance letter addressed to Zhang was shared on Weibo by Chinese producer Li Xuezheng, who recently questioned whether the China Association of Performing Arts has the right to blacklist disgraced celebrities, before they go through the legal system.
With the Beijing police officially accepting his report, Zhang’s acting career may finally be back on track. Fans and supporters who believe in him are looking forward to his comeback:
“It’s been so long and finally, there’s some good news!”
“Kudos to the Beijing police! Thanks!”
“Justice may be late, but it will never be absent.”
“So he has been trying to file a police report but to no avail. That’s really tough.”
“Thank you for the Christmas Eve present.”