Chinese actor Li Yifeng suffered a setback in his career when many major companies cut ties with him after rumors that he was asking for prostitutes. According to the South China Morning Post, the 35-year-old was taken into custody by Beijing police, who then made a statement on social media.
“The person has admitted to multiple visits to prostitutes and has been placed under administrative detention.”
According to Merriam-Webster, to beg means to approach someone with a request or petition. Asking for prostitution is against Chinese law and generally results in an administrative jail term of 10 to 15 days. If the crime is minor, the sentence can be reduced to five days or less. Authorities declined to give Li’s full name, but CCTV footage showed he had been arrested. Police have not released more information at the time of writing. After news of Li Yifeng’s arrest went viral, 11 companies said they were cutting ties with the celebrity. Among them were Prada, L’Oréal Paris, Remy Martin, Zhenguoli, Budweiser, Luk Fook Jewelry, Sensodyne and Panerai. The actress was named Prada’s brand ambassador in 2021, and she even ran the company’s rerun show in Beijing in the fall of 2022 in August.
[trending] CCTV News reports that according to Beijing Police, #LiYifeng was seized in a recent criminal investigation. The actor confessed several times to asking prostitutes and is currently in jail.
Note: Prostitution is illegal in China. pic.twitter.com/JAG20AqucX
— cdrama tweets (@dramapotato) September 11, 2022
Li Yifeng’s representatives disputed rumors about his personal and professional life.
According to the Global Times, Li Yifeng’s studio released an official statement declaring that the online allegations about his life were false. They went on to say the claims were “maliciously created by people with ulterior motives to promote misinformation.” Yifeng also released a statement refuting the allegations, claiming that the alleged claims caused him mental harm and affected his professional life.
He said in the Global Times:
“I hope that Li Yifeng’s film and television work will continue, that he will live responsibly and in the social duty of today’s youth, instead of living in the midst of lawsuits and fighting harmful rumors.”
According to state-sponsored local media, the posts were immediately removed, as were similar search terms. In response to the allegations, the Huading Awards Organizing Committee withdrew the titles of Best Actor in China’s Top 100 TV Dramas and National Audience’s Favorite Movie Star.
Li Yifeng has joined the ranks of Chinese celebrities such as Kris Wu, Deng Lun, Zhao Wei and Zheng Shuang who have come under scrutiny for personal and financial misconduct. Li Yifeng rose to fame after appearing in a number of famous television series. His professional highlight to date has been the 2021 historical drama film, directed by Xu Zhanxiong, in which he played Mao Zedong. He earned the 2018 China TV Golden Eagle Award for Best Actor for his performance as a spy agent in the historical drama Sparrow.