Chinese rapper Beibei, also known as Li Jingze, has faced intense criticism after willingly severing part of his finger on a livestream. As Billboard reports, Beibei was streaming from Shaanxi province and cut off a part of his pinky finger after he had been accused of being sexually involved with some of his fans. He reportedly did it in an attempt to show that he is innocent.
As a member of a hip-hop collective called Huonghuahui, the 24-year-old rapper gained a lot of attention for his participation in Iron Mic freestyle events. After he had been accused of sexual involvement with fans, he said he had faced a lot of backlash and abuse online. After he streamed his finger-severing incident, he received more criticism and as a result, China is once again cracking on hip-hop in the country.
China has strict internet streaming regulations, which Beibei violated. It's also worth pointing out that the internet in China is state-controlled, meaning that heavy censorship takes place in regards to everything from political content to social media networks like Twitter and Facebook. Beibei broadcasted the moment he cut his finger on Yizhibo, and was shortly banned from the popular platform. The company behind Yizhibo reported the incident to authorities. As a result of all the attention, Huonghuahui will disband.
Iron Mic China founder Dana Tiago Burton told Billboard that he sympathizes with Beibei, who reportedly suffers from a thyroid disease that can result in mood swings. "The pressures of life for young people in China can be daunting. If you add in pop culture, fandom and social media pressures, it can be overwhelming," he said. "There is so such much stigma and taboo around this topic. Beibei didn't win all of his rap battles, but this is one battle I sincerely hope he wins. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health, and far more important than fame or perceived success."
It is currently unknown what punishment Beibei will face at the hands of China's ruling Communist Party. A source explained the Chinese Association of Performing Arts issued a list of banned rappers following the incident. Earlier this year, Chinese rock musician Li Zhi disappeared from public view after he publicly discussed Tiananmen Square.