May 10, 2021 08:07 PM

Internet Watchdog Cheesed Off at Talent Show Fans That Dumped Dairy Down the Drain

What’s new: China’s internet watchdog on Saturday criticized the fans of an online talent show for buying dairy products in bulk as part of a promotion, then wasting the milky items by throwing them away.

Zhang Yongjun, an official with the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), said in a Saturday briefing that there’s nothing wrong with young people supporting pop idols, but that wasting food crossed a line.

Zhang said the CAC has launched a campaign to crack down on inappropriate online behavior, including by fan communities.

The background: Fans of the iQiyi Inc.’s idol show “Youth With You 3” were urged to vote for their favorite contestants by scanning the QR codes printed on the packaging of flavored milk drinks and yogurts produced by its sponsor, a major Chinese dairy firm.

That prompted some fans to buy the products in large quantities, then dispose of their contents once they had cast their ballots, according to media reports.

On Thursday, the Nasdaq-listed video platform apologized and said it felt extremely guilty about the impact of the clips, stressing its “firm opposition to all forms of food waste.”

On Sunday iQiyi announced (link in Chinese) that it had canceled the final stage of the contest and suspended filming.

China’s national legislature passed a food waste bill last month that will fine violators up to 100,000 yuan ($15,584). The National People’s Congress Standing Committee began drafting the law to stop food-wastage in October, following President Xi Jinping’s “clean plate” campaign launched in August in response to long-term food security concerns.

Quick Takes are condensed versions of China-related stories for fast news you can use. To read the full story in Chinese, click here.

Matthew Walsh contributed to this report.

Contact reporter Timmy Shen ( and editor Joshua Dummer (

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