A Tibetan herder once dubbed “China’s most handsome man” is suing online critics for defamatory comments suggesting that his looks are his only quality.
Dingzhen Zhenzhu, 21, released a lawyer’s letter through his agent on Sunday, warning online commentators against posting defamatory comments that include “insulting, terrifying, vulgar, or vilifying words, pictures and audio.” In November 2020, a seven-second clip of Dingzhen smiling went viral on Chinese social media, leading him to quickly rise to fame. Dingzhen was hired as an ambassador for his hometown in Litang of Sichuan Province in southwestern China – known as one of the most poverty-stricken counties in the country – and turned it into a popular tourist destination. He was invited to several events including the United Nations Development Programme’s World Earth Day last year.
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Many people online, however, began ridiculing the 21-year-old as being talentless. They also criticized Dingzhen’s fans for purportedly placing a higher value on appearances than achievements. The online attacks escalated after a video of Dingzhen vaping was posted to social media in January 2021.
“10 years of hard academic study is not a quarter as good as Dingzhen’s smile,” one user sarcastically wrote.
A survey conducted by leading sports forum Hupu in December 2020 showed that 63% of the respondents believed they were more attractive than Dingzhen.
Dingzhen has already begun to pursue legal action against those who have posted defamatory comments and threatened to sue any others who suggest that he is nothing more than “a handsome face.”
“Never dare do anything evil no matter how trivial you think it is,” Dingzhen is quoted as saying in the lawyer’s letter.