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Celebrities face backlash over lifetime job offers

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Yi Yang Qianxi, singer and actor. [Photo/CHINA DAILY]

Chinese pop singer and actor Yi Yang Qianxi has given up a lifetime job at China’s National Centre for the Performing Arts following widespread public outrage and criticism of celebrity privileges.

Yee, 22, posted a long message on his Sina Weibo account on Sunday explaining why he applied for the theater job, saying the audition and interview were above board and that he would not accept the job, hoping to ease the debate.

“There have been a lot of voices lately about my work at the National Theatre of China, and first of all I want to apologize to those who care, support or criticize me,” Ye said, adding that his belated response came as the heated online debate went beyond range of his abilities.

“I’ve always wanted to have a positive influence on people. However, people are offended and upset because of me. I’ve been a longtime fan of the China National Theatre and I’ve been influenced, which is the last thing I want” Sina Yi Yangqianxi, who has nearly 90 million followers on Weibo, said that after careful consideration, I decided to give up this job, but I will continue to study and improve myself in the theater.

The controversy began on July 6, when the National Theatre of China announced its annual admissions list for 2022.

Three young Chinese celebrities are on the list, led by Yee.

As a national art institution of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the theater dates back to 1941 and is known for producing and staging Chinese classics such as Chinese literary works and stories about the country’s history and achievements.

For Yu and two other young Chinese actors, joining the theater means they will get a Bianzhi — a government-funded position that usually extends for life and comes with stable careers, housing subsidies and other Welfare.

One wonders if the three young actors were treated differently during the application process because of their star status. Competition for any job that turns wise is always fierce, and many netizens are skeptical about the transparency of the celebrity hiring process. They cite the fact that in the theater’s job announcement, it needs “unemployed people.”

“So, it’s not just us ordinary people. A stable and regular job is also attractive to celebrities,” said one Sina Weibo user.

“We just want fairness and transparency in the process. After all, it’s hard to find a job, especially one that’s readily available,” said another.

The other two young and famous actors Hu Xianxu and Luo Yizhou, both in their early 20s, were also involved in this turmoil. They have all appeared in major film and television dramas, have huge fan bases, and often appear on TV or online reality shows.

Yee is one of the most popular celebrities in China. The members of the teenage group TFBoys rose to fame as a teenage singer and have since starred in Chinese-language films such as the 2019 Oscar-nominated “Good Times”, the 2020 family drama “Little Red Flower” and the war epic “Battlefield”. Changjin Lake in 2021.

Yee explained that he had to take three interviews and exams on April 14, April 25 and May 2, the third of which was moved online due to the coronavirus pandemic. He said the whole process was fair and had nothing to do with privilege.

He said that it has been his dream to apply for the National Theatre of China since he studied at the Central Academy of Drama from 2018 to 2022.

“Before graduating, I shared with my teachers and classmates my dream of becoming an actor in the National Theatre of China. I want to explore and improve in China’s top theater company, the National Theatre of China,” Yu said.

Hu, 22, who graduated from the same university as Yu on Sunday, responded to the controversy surrounding his admission on Sina Weibo shortly after Yu posted it.

Hu Jintao did not give up his job, but he said he would accept public scrutiny.

On Saturday, the National Theatre of China issued a statement explaining the company’s hiring. It said 447 passed the exam this year, out of a total of 590 applicants. Based on the scores of job applicants, 10 people were finally admitted: 7 actors, 1 director, 1 sound engineer and 1 costume designer.

The company responded to public concerns about whether movie stars were qualified candidates and whether they were properly auditioned and interviewed.

“The process of recruiting recent graduates complies with the theatre’s policies and requirements. The recruitment process is open, fair and impartial,” the company said in a statement.

It is not uncommon for celebrities to work in government agencies in China. For example, the National Theatre of China announced that Chinese actress Guan Xiaotong will join the company in 2021. In 2020, Chinese actor Liu Haoran joined the China Coal Mine Art Troupe, which is also a government-backed arts institution.



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