China President Xi Jinping lookalike opera singer banned from social media for 'violating leader's looks'

This is the third time that Liu Keqing’s social media account has been blocked on Chinese app Douyin

                            China President Xi Jinping lookalike opera singer banned from social media for 'violating leader's looks'
Liu Keqing, Xi Jinping (Douyin/Getty Images)

An opera singer has been battling censorship online because his looks match those of Chinese President Xi Jinping. Liu Keqing’s social media account on Chinese TikTok-like social media app Douyin has repeatedly been blocked by the authorities because he “violates the leader's looks”, The Daily Mail reported.

According to reports, the 63-year-old who lives in Berlin, Germany, has been using his current Douyin account since 2019 to share his eccentric singing tutorials with his 41,000 followers. He uploads his clips on the online platform to give a passionate opera performance.

However, on May 10, Keqing posted a video online claiming his account had been censored by the social media platform for “image violation”, Radio Free International reported. The Chinese baritone said, “dear friends, my Douyin account has been reported and banned because of my profile picture's violation. I have provided my identification materials again, and I am currently waiting for approval. This is the third time that my account has been banned because of 'image violation'.” It has been reported that the original video is deleted from the musician's page.

Meanwhile, The New York Times reported that Keqing told the newspaper that he had opened another Douyin account before, but that account was also suddenly censored by the Chinese authorities as his profile picture looked almost identical to some of the Chinese national leader’s official portraits. The singer has not gone completely offline as he is active on his current social media platforms, but several comments on his videos seem to remain blocked.

Reports have claimed that Keqing is not the only one who looks similar to the president, but a food vendor in China is also the leader’s doppelganger. The unnamed vendor became an internet sensation in December 2019 when his videos went viral. The videos showed him serving customers pork buns as he smiles and waves at the camera, resembling Xi’s expressions.

This news of Keqing comes as China has been widely accused of overly-managing its president’s image after the country seemingly suppressed critics and censored internet memes that mock Xi’s looks. It has been said that the local authorities even banned Winnie the Pooh in 2017 after social media users compared the fictional animated character to the national leader in online posts. In addition, the country also blocked HBO’s website in 2018 after John Oliver talked about Xi bearing a resemblance to Winnie The Pooh. The English talk show host had reportedly criticized the leader in his June 17, 2018 episode of ‘Last Week Tonight with John Oliver’, over a whole 20-minute segment.

Oliver criticized the president's unnecessary code of censorship as he said, "China has never exactly been known as a haven for free expression. He has clamped down noticeably on any form of dissent whatsoever. Apparently, Xi Jinping is very sensitive about his perceived resemblance to Winnie the Pooh, and I'm not even sure it's that strong a resemblance, to be honest, but the fact he's annoyed about it means people will never stop bringing it up.” He added: “Backing down on Winnie the Pooh comparisons don't exactly project strength. It suggests weird insecurity in him, and experts say that Xi is deeply concerned the public opinion will turn on him."

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