China's 'Lipstick King' influencer Li Jiaqi goes offline after livestream of a 'tank cake' fuels Tiananmen massacre talk
- The massively popular e-commerce influencer
Li Jiaqihas been silent since he disappeared on Friday.
- His stream cut off after he brought a tank-shaped ice cream dessert on-screen.
An enormously popular Chinese e-commerce influencer has been radio silent for days after his livestream on Friday was abruptly cut off when he brought a tank-shaped dessert on-screen. His disappearance has led to social media speculation that the Chinese government may have censored or detained him, because the confection could be perceived as a reference to the 1989
Austin Li Jiaqi, who is known as the "Lipstick King" and has over 64 million followers on live stream platform
After the livestream shuttered, Jiaqi wrote in a Weibo post that there had been technical issues, but he never returned, and he did not stream his next scheduled show on Sunday. He still hasn't reappeared or updated fans on the reason behind the sudden disappearance.
Some Chinese social media users on Weibo and commentators on Twitter like the Hong Kong-based independent journalist Sum Lok-kei appear to believe that the government pulled him off air because the tank shape could be read as a nod to the Tiananmen Square massacre, when troops shot and killed civilians and student demonstrators who were protesting the government. Tanks are an especially fraught icon in China, because one of the most famous images from the crackdown was of a man, dubbed "Tank Man," who stood alone in front of a tank to block its travel.
The massacre is forbidden to discuss and censored online in China, and many younger generation citizens don't know that it happened. The crackdown's anniversary took place over the weekend on Saturday, a day after Jiaqi's ice cream stream. Many people don't believe that Jiaqi was intentionally alluding to the horrific event, according to The Wall Street Journal, which reported that Chinese people who accidentally reference the massacre have previously still faced consequences.
Jiaqi's disappearance has sparked significant discussion on Chinese social media, with Weibo hashtags relating to the situation amassing over 100 million views on Monday, according to Singapore-based
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