Chinese actor Li Yifeng, who played Mao Zedong in last year’s blockbuster The Pioneer, has been arrested by Beijing police on charges of soliciting prostitutes, state broadcaster CCTV reported on Sunday (September 11th). .
In a statement on social media, Beijing police said a 35-year-old male actor surnamed Li was arrested recently.
“The person confessed to visiting prostitutes on several occasions and was placed in administrative detention,” the statement said.
Although the police statement did not identify Li by his full name, CCTV confirmed that the actor had been arrested. No details were given.
Italian luxury brand Prada said on Sunday evening that it had ended all partnership with Li, who was announced as its official ambassador in 2021 and is also known as Evan Li.
Other brands, including toothpaste company Sensodyne and traditional Chinese medicine company King To Nin Jiom, also announced they were ending their partnership with Li.
Soliciting prostitution is illegal under Chinese law and usually leads to administrative detention for 10 to 15 days. It could be reduced to five days or less if the offense is minor.
The charges are the latest in a string of scandals, ranging from tax evasion to alleged sexual assault, in China’s entertainment industry since the start of 2021.
Various industry players have been accused of “severely polluting the social atmosphere” and Beijing’s cultural authority last year ordered the industry to ban performances by any performer who allegedly broke the law or violated ” ethical values”.
Li was originally scheduled to perform at CCTV’s annual Mid-Autumn Festival Gala, which aired nationwide on Saturday.
Li was born in 1987 in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, and made his debut in a talent show hosted by Shanghai’s Dragon Television in 2007.
He scored the role of late Chinese supreme leader Mao Zedong in The Pioneer, a film released as part of the Communist Party’s centennial celebrations.
He is also the only Chinese star to receive South Korea’s Style Icon award, emulating the likes of K-pop’s G-Dragon and K-drama actor Song Joong-ki.
In October last year, pianist Li Yundi was arrested by Beijing police for hiring a prostitute.
This article was first published in the South China Morning Post.