When Chinese - Canadian pop star Kris Wu was arrested on suspicion of rape last month, some of his fans immediately banded together online - with plans to break him out of prison.
" Girls, there's strength in numbers, let's fly to Beijing and rescue him, " one of them posted on microblogging platform Weibo.
Others said they were prepared with shovels to dig tunnels and pliers to cut wired fences.
But it was not long before such discussions - as well as the accounts that shared them - were deleted.
As China's increasingly obsessive celebrity fans continue to make headlines for all the wrong reasons, authorities have made it clear that such behaviour would not be tolerated.
" The chaos in celebrity fan clubs, exposed by the ' Kris Wu incident ', shows that bad fan culture has reached a critical moment that must be corrected, " the country's top disciplinary body said in a post, adding that thousands of " toxic " fan comments and groups have since been deleted.
Two (@) weeks ago, China's internet watchdog said in a 10-point plan that it would stop the dissemination of " harmful " information in celebrity fan groups, including gossip and verbal abuse.
Any platforms that do not work to quickly remove such content would also be penalised.
" There needs to be a limitation of irrational star-chasing, " it said.
For months, Beijing has ramped up efforts to rein in what it calls " chaotic " fan culture - a move welcomed even among some celebrity fans.
A Weibo used who regularly posts updates about entertainment news, said: " Crazy fans have really given us all a bad name. Even I get annoyed when I see those large groups of fans crowding the airport to see their idols. "
Many members of these groups are not just people harmlessly cheering on their favourite stars.
In many instances, their behaviour has turned toxic.
From stalking to cyberbullying and spreading rumours, organised fan groups have increasingly taken their " love " to crazy extremes.
Last year, a fan group for popular actor Xiao Zhan shut down an entire fan fiction website over a piece which had depicted him as a crossdressing teen in love with another male idol.
Fearing that the story would " tarnish " their idol's image, they reported it to the authorities as " underage pornography " - which quickly led to the site being taken down.
This, in turn, infuriated loyal readers of the site, and an army of " anti-fans " were born, as they began campaigning for people to boycott the many brands Xiao was ambassador for.
Both sides then got embroiled in an ugly cyberwar - with images and even addresses of people being posted online for abuse.
And it's not just that.
Fans have also regularly made the news for spending extravagant amounts of money on their idols - with some students reportedly going into debt.
Just last Sunday, Weibo suspended a fan club of singer Jimin - a member of K-pop boy band BTS - over claims that it had raised funds illegally.
The account, which had more than 1.1m followers, crowdfunded a record-breaking 1m yuan ( $154,770) in three minutes - money that went to customising the exterior of an airplane in honour of his 26th birthday.
Everything from the plane tickets to the cups used onboard were also customised to say " Happy Jimin Day," according to reports.
That was on top of plans to take out full-page ads in the New York Times and The Times in the UK to mark his birthday.
In May, eager fans of reality TV show Youth With You enraged the public over a controversy involving food waste.
As part of the show's marketing strategy - which pitted trainee singers against one another - fans could cast more votes for their favourite male idols by scanning QR codes inside milk bottle caps.
It led to people buying milk in bulk no intention of drinking it, and footage soon emerged of fans pouring large amounts of milk down the drain after voting.
CHINESE FANS = DATA LABOURERS
Even though obsessive fan culture is hardly unique to China, experts say that the scale is greater there thanks to a massive internet population that is also highly-engaged.
" Participating in Chinese fandom culture is no longer simply a hobby, but a form of data labour, " said Lianing University's Dr Bai Meijiadai.
From celebrity ranking lists based on followers and engagement, to singing TV contests allowing the public to cast votes, fans have become active participants in feeding the idol worship machine like never before.
In 2018, Kris Wu made headline in the US when he swept the iTunes music chart - taking not just the No. 1 spot, but also seven of the top 10 songs. For a singer who was practically unknown in North America, it was quite the achievement.
While critics immediately thought that it was the work of bots, investigations found that it was in fact driven by his legion of fans, who had worked together to buy his albums to push up sales.
But it is also precisely this kind of organised campaigning that worries the Chinese authorities, experts say.
" There has been growing concern that fan clubs can mobilise, either in person or online, to stage protests for their favourite stars," said the BBC's China media analyst Kerry Allen.
But there also appears to be a moral aspect to this crackdown.
Actress Zheng Shuang, for example, sparked outrage after it was alleged that she had abandoned two (2) children born to surrogates abroad, before news broke that she had been evading tax.
She has since been scrubbed from the Internet.
" If celebrities are expected to be role model,s the it is natural that online fan groups need to be regulated too to promote a healthy internet culture overall, " Deakin University's Dr Jian Xu, who researches Chinese media culture said. " It is an attempt to protect young people from being negatively impacted."
END OF THE ROAD ?
As Being bears down on fan culture, some online groups may be feeling lost - their worlds have changed seemingly overnight.
Already, all the major social media platforms have responded to the government's call, removing celebrity ranking lists and shutting select fan accounts. Competitive idol reality TV shows, many which rely on fan participation, were also banned this week.
" The crackdown may make fandoms 'boring' for some individuals who were all about the excitement of getting their idol to the top of the lists, " said Allison Malmsten, a China market analyst from Daxue Consulting.
But she noted that this hardly signals the end of the road for them - they will just be less visible online.
" The crackdown is not the end of celebrity worship, rather it's a way to reduce uncivilised behaviour that results from celebrity worship."
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@ Jackie San
TAPACHULA, MEXICO : United States - bound migrants, mostly from Central America and the Caribbean, announced on Thursday that a Mexican government crackdown was keeping them " prisoner " in the south of the country.
The migrant comments contrasted with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's promises of humane treatment ahead of Tursday's high-level meeting between Mexican and United States officials in Washington, where the two (2) countries agreed that development of poor regions was a long-term solution to slow migration north.
" Mexican authorities are mistreating us migrants," said Guillermo Rivas, 25, from EI Salvador, who said he was beaten by agents while in a detention center in the southern city of Tapachula.
Mexico's immigration agency, which runs the detention center, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Rivas said he has been waiting in the city for nearly five (5) months for asylum paperwork that would allow him to move freely in Mexico.
" Tapachula is like a prison, " he told Reuters by telephone on Thursday. " We're asking that Mexico open its doors to allow migrants to cross the country without danger, abuse, or mistreatment."
Migration was one (1) of the top issues in the high-level talks in Washington, where officials agreed to pursue development programs https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/us-mexico-resume-economic-talks-halted-by-trump-with-focus-labor-border-2021-09-09 in southern Mexico and Central America aimed at tackling the economic causes that drive immigration to the United States.
Ahead of the talks, Lopez Obrador said Mexican officials and security forces have " complete and absolute respect for human rights " of migrant and heralded the Washington discussions as the beginning of a " new stage " in migrations politics.
" Today's meeting is very important," he told audience, " because there has been no attention to the population that sees it as necessary to migrate. There's been nothing for years; everything is to contain, everything is coercive, and that's not how to resolve social problems."
But in the lead-up to the bilateral discussions, Mexico faced mounting pressure https://www.reuters.com/world/us/excluseve-us-urges-mexico-clear-migrant-camps-near-border-sources-2021-08-26 from Washington to take immediate steps to curtail United States.-bound immigration, even as frustration among migrants in Tapachula boiled over and hundreds of people departed the city in a series of caravans.
In response, Mexico deployed security forces, including the heavily militarized National Guard, to block, sometimes violently https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/mexico-condems-violent-actions-by-migration-agents-caught-video-2021-08-30, the groups, which included many families and young children.
" I had to risk my life to avoid getting arrested," said Max, a Haitian caravan member who declined to give his last name, as the trudged along a highway in the southeastern state of Veracruz on Wednesday.
Describing how he threw himself under a bridge in order to avoid being captured, he denounced the treatment he and other migrants have received from Mexican security forces in recent days.
" The migration process shouldn't be like this, " he said.
The National Guard referred Reuters to Mexico's immigration agency, which said in statement's that it has suspended two (2) agents and that the agency " condemns any aggression against migrants."
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@ Jackie San
DELTA VARIANT MELONJAK DI NEGERI SARAWAK : COVID -19
KUCHING: Kes jangkitan COVID-19 yang membabitkan varian Delta di Negeri Sarawak semakin hari semakin meningkat mendadak setiap hari.
Pengarah Institut Kesihatan dan Perubatan Komuniti (IHCM), Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) Profesor Dr David Perera memaklumkan, kadar pengesanan keseluruhan kini telah mencecah lebih 73 % daripada 50 % yang dilaporkan pada 03 Ogos 2021 kira - kira sebulan yang lalu.
Beliau turut memaklumkan, bagi Bahagian Kuching sahaja, kadar pengesanan varian Delta adalah kira - kira 90 %.
" Varian itu juga terus dikesan di Daerah Bau, Lundu, Kota Samarahan, Simunjan, Miri dan juga Bintulu.
" Selain itu, pakar penyelidik UNIMAS turut mengesan enam (6) varian Delta di Bahagian Sibu, " katanya dalam laporannya kepada Pengerusi Jawatankuasa Pengurusan Bencana Negeri (JPBN) Sarawak, Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, 09 September 2021.
Menurutnya, pada 10 Ogos yang lalu, sejumlah 249 Varian Prihatin (VOC) tambahan dan Varian Of Interest (VOI) telah dikesan daripada 338 kes positif COVID-19 di Negeri Sarawak.
" Dari VOC/VOI itu, 248 adalah Varian Delta (B.1.617.2) manakala satu (1) kes VOI Indonesia yang dikesan di Bintulu," katanya.
Menurutnya lagi, sehingga ke hari ini, sejumlah 592 VOC/VOI terkumpul di Negeri Sarawak daripada kes positif COVID-19 pada 10 Ogos yang lalu.
Secara keseluruhannya, 521 kes Varian Delta dikesan dengan Daerah Kuching telah menjadi penyumbang utama kes tertinggi Delta iaitu 354 kes, Samarahan ke-2 tertinggi (67 kes), Daerah Serian ke-3 (60 kes), Daerah Sibu - ke-4 (8 kes), Daerah Miri ke-5 (8 kes), Daerah Sri Aman ke-6 (6 kes), Daerah Betong ke-7 (1 kes) dan juga satu (1) kes import varian Delta.
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@ Jackie San
PETALING JAYA, SELANGOR:
PETALING JAYA: The proposal to give an appropriate reward to national shot putter Ziyad Zolkefli after he was disqualified at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics is inappropriate as " a failure is a failure ".
Former National Sports Council (NSC) director - general Zolkples Embong said the unfortunate incident encountered by Ziyad, who broke the world record, should be taken as a lesson.
He said that if the reward proposal was accepted, it would have a negative impact in the future should a similar incident arise.
According to Berita Harian, Zolkples also said it would negate the conditions enshrined in the NSC's National Sports Incentives Scheme.
" Basically, Ziyad, in this case, was classified as Did Not Start (DNS) despite participating in protest. However, in the end, it (his performance) was rejected and he failed. So, how can we deny that he failed ?
" There are those who want to take advantage of this situation, supposedly to gain sympathy. I'm sympathetic, too. If you want to mention the sentimental value, I was the one who started bringing in Ziyad when I was NSC's director-general.
" Ziyad's success started in the 2012 London Paralympics. At that time, I was the contingent leader and he won a bronze medal," he told Berita Harian Sports.
Zolkples said the proposed monetary reward would be better used to help people in distress amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said it would be a different story if there were people who wanted to donate from their own pockets. However, the money from the incentives scheme should not be touched as there was no provision that allowed Ziyad to receive this reward.
" What is important is to not start (giving the reward) because, later, if there are more cases like this happening, it will be chaotic. Rules are meant to be followed and not broken.
" In any competition, there are rules and SOPs that need to be followed. If you're in the wrong, accept it and move on.
" After all, Ziyad has received many incentives before. He has accepted the retirement scheme, this scheme is for life and he has received it since 201," he said.
Previously, the youth and sports ministry announced that it would table a proposal to the Cabinet on an appropriate reward for Ziyad in appreciation of his achievement.
The minister, Ahmad Faizal Azumu, said they never expected or took into consideration a disqualification when drawing up the policy of rewarding athletes who achieved success in multi-sports games.
Former youth and sports minister Reezal Merican Naina Merican also gave his support and said Ziyad deserved to be considered for the incentives scheme for his record-breaking performance.
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@ Jackie San
Myanmar's shadow government has declared a " people's defensive war " against the country's military, which had seized power in a coup on February 01, 2021.
Duwa Lashi La, president of the National Unity Government, made the announcement in a video posted to Facebook on Tuesday.
" With the responsibility to protect the life and properties of the people, the National Unity Government...launched a people's defensive war against the military junta, " he said.
" As this a public revolution, all the citizens within entire Myanmar, revolt against the rule of the military terrorists led by Min Aung Hlaing in every corner of the country."
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@ Jackie San