Fendi Chinese Brand Ambassador Zhao Wei Banned, Reason Unknown

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Beijing’s crackdown on the Chinese entertainment industry continues.

Zhao Wei, one of China’s most well-known actresses and the face of Fendi, appears to have been banned by government agencies.

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By Thursday evening in Beijing, Zhao’s name was removed from all the works she starred in, including “My Fair Princess,” one of the most popular Chinese TV dramas of all time on major Chinese video platforms like Tencent Video, iQiyi and Youku.

The hashtag “Zhao Wei Topic Banned” became the top trending news on Weibo.

It’s unclear why she has become a target. Some suggested on Weibo that it might be linked to China’s crackdown on Jack Ma and Alibaba. Last week, Zhou Jiangyong, the secretary of the Hangzhou Municipal Party Committee, was investigated for alleged “serious violations of discipline and law.”

He was a close ally of Ma, and so were Zhao and her husband, the businessman Huang Youlong. The couple purchased stakes in Alibaba Pictures in 2014, which lead to tens of millions of dollars in gains.

Others speculated that she was punished for the negative social impact caused by Zhang Zhehan, a celebrity she signed under her agency. Zhang was repudiated last week for sharing images of himself at the controversial Yasukuni and Nogi shrines in Tokyo, considered taboo locations to visit by the Chinese since both places are associated with Japanese militarism.

Zhao herself was also attacked in 2001 for wearing a dress that resembles the Japanese Rising Sun flag in a L’Officiel China fashion editorial. As the flag was used by the Imperial Japanese military during Japan’s actions during World War II, it is regarded as offensive by people in China and South Korea.

Zhao Wei on the cover of Vogue China August issue - Credit: Conde Nast China
Zhao Wei on the cover of Vogue China August issue - Credit: Conde Nast China

Conde Nast China

China’s state-owned media has not yet responded to the matter, and WWD has reached out to Fendi for a comment.

Last year, Fendi appointed Zhao Wei as a brand ambassador for China. She fronted the cover of Vogue China’s August 2021 issue, wearing the fall collection designed by Kim Jones.

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