China’s top livestreamer returns after 3-month disappearance following ‘tank cake’ controversy

China’s top livestreamer returns after 3-month disappearance following ‘tank cake’ controversy
Michelle De Pacina
September 21, 2022
China’s top livestreaming sales influencer has returned to screens after a three-month-long absence following his presentation of an ice cream tank on the eve of the Tiananmen Square protest anniversary. 
Li Jiaqi, also known as the “Lipstick King,” is known for his livestreaming channel on Alibaba Group’s Taobao Marketplace, where he sells products ranging from cosmetics to food brands.
On June 3, Li and a co-host presented a Viennetta brand ice-cream that resembled a tank during a live broadcast before his show was suddenly cut short.
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The multi-layered ice cream, which was decorated with Oreos and wafers, resembled the military tanks that became a widely recognized symbol of the pro-democracy protests at the Tiananmen Square in 1989. The student-led protests led to the massacre of several thousands. 
Li blamed the abrupt livestream cut to a technical error, and two hours later, he told viewers that the broadcast would not be resuming. Many online users speculated that his broadcast was cut due to the accidental Tiananmen Square reference, of which the Chinese government has always been quick to censor.
Upon his return to streaming, Li did not give any explanation for his disappearance nor did his studio. However, his fans were quick to flood his livestream with comments welcoming him back. 
Viewers reportedly bought out the goods he was selling faster than expected, which caused Li to end the show earlier than usual.
“Today, the goods have been prepared in a hurry, and many girls couldn’t grab it,” Li said in his livestream. “How about we end it for now, and then we will continue to broadcast when we have enough goods. See you tomorrow, girls.”
Beijing has reportedly intensified its crackdown on China’s booming livestreaming industry. Livestreaming hosts are required to “uphold correct political values and social values” of the new rules that bans 31 “misbehaviors.”
Featured Image via @ShiaMajer, @JerryDunleavy
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