When falsely accused of wrongdoing, it’s fair to say that most would do everything possible to defend themselves. Typically that means finding a way to show that you’re innocent.
Lacking the ability to do so, a rapper in Shaanxi province instead opted to cut off part of his finger on a livestream to ‘prove’ his innocence when accused of sexual involvement with his female fans.
According to Global Times, Li Jingze, better known by his stage name Beibei, is part of the Xi’an-based hip-hop collective known as Huonghuahui, or GDLF MUSIC.
The incident took place on Monday night, highlighting an issue that experts say is rampant within China’s livestreaming industry: a consistent failure by livestreaming platforms to regulate content.
The 24-year-old artist claimed in the clip that he had faced relentless cyberbullying as a result of false rumors of sexual relations, and insisted that by cutting off part of his pinky finger he would “prove a clear conscience.”
While Li didn’t show the moment that he made the cut, he flashed the severed appendage to his online audience immediately afterward.
Li had around 720,000 followers on Yizhibo, the platform he used to stream the video, but staff banned him from the platform on Tuesday and reported the incident to authorities, thecover.cn reported, according to Global Times.
Meanwhile, the rapper’s Weibo account skyrocketed from 150,000 to 680,000 followers on Tuesday alone.
That same day, Huonghuahui announced that they were splitting up on Weibo. The group said they were sorry for the negative influence of their friend’s actions, encouraging netizens to be mindful of his mental well-being and to avoid cyberbullying.
Unsurprisingly, the unconventional amputation made waves on Chinese social media. Most netizens were rightly critical of his behavior on the public platform, with some questioning whether he actually cut off his finger at all.
Weibo hashtags relating to the rap group were viewed more than 70 million times as of Tuesday evening.
A professor at Beijing’s China University of Political Science and Law, Zhu Wei, told Global Times that Li’s actions violated the country’s internet security law relating to bloodiness and violence, adding that the livestreaming platform should also be held accountable for failing to moderate their service adequately.
“As a public figure, he was not just hurting himself but also the viewers, especially minors,” Zhu said.
It’s been a strange (read: typical) week for livestream-related news in China. On August 5, a popular DouYu live-streamer called Her Majesty Qiao Biluo was revealed to be a middle-aged woman – and not the pretty, anime-looking girl she presented as – when a computer filter inadvertently cut out during her broadcast.
According to Shanghai Morning Post, both Qiao and Li were blacklisted as a result of their livestreaming incidents, barring them from signing up and livestreaming on Chinese platforms. However, Qiao is reportedly still at it, using an overseas livestreaming platform to circumvent the blacklist.
[Cover image: Screengrab via @新京报/Miaopai]