The Chinese Communist Youth League has co-opted a popular hologram pop singer as its “youth ambassador,” noting that fictional holographic pop stars are “pure as lilies” and easier to manage than people, who “make their own decisions” and may choose at any moment to contradict the Chinese government.
The Global Timespublished an extensive feature on Luo Tianyi, a “pop star” hologram who has become so popular that millions of people have bought tickets to watch her perform live. Erciyuan, as the virtual pop stars are called, have become increasingly popular both in China and their native Japan.
The state-run Global Times notes that the Chinese government finds erciyuan politically useful because, unlike humans, they have no free will and can be easily controlled.
“Indeed, virtual icons like Luo Tianyi could cause zero harm to youngsters as they won’t yield to any temptation like drugs or get involved in any sex scandals,” the Times explains. “In recent years, a number of popular human celebrities were found to be drug users or sex addicts. It’s also not uncommon to find stars falling from the public’s worshiping altar after making an ethnical mistake.”
One of Luo Tianyi’s developers, Ren Li, tells the Global Times that a benefit to Luo over a human pop star is that she and other “virtual idols” are “easier to manage, different from real-life stars who make their own decisions and do things the way they like, which is hard to control.”
Luo Tianyi performs many crowdsourced songs, all of a bubblegum pop variety that largely appeals to teens and young people. She has filled stadiums throughout China with fans excited to watch her perform.
Before becoming a “youth ambassador” for the Communist Party, Luo also starred in ads for companies like KFC.