iQiyi halts 'idol competition' programs amid criticism
Chinese video streaming platform iQiyi said on Thursday it would stop showing all "idol competition" programs, calling them unhealthy amid authorities' criticism of celebrity worship.
China's equivalent of Netflix, iQiyi had amassed a number of hits with programs such as "Youth With You" which allowed viewers to vote for boy band contestants by purchasing products with voting codes.
Authorities, however, have in recent months strongly criticized such shows and the overall fostering of what it called "unhealthy fan culture" after a number of celebrities including Canadian pop star Kris Wu and Chinese actor Zhang Zhehan were caught up in scandals.
"We will cancel idol talent shows and off-site online voting, be responsible as a platform, resist bad influences, and maintain a healthy and clean Internet as well as audio-visual environment for our users," the company said in a statement.
iQiyi dropped the third season of "Youth With You" before its finale earlier this year after a controversy in which fans of the show were filmed wasting milk in their bid to qualify to vote.