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China's video bloggers pay high price for fame

By Elizabeth Shim
China's video bloggers pay high price for fame
Chinese video bloggers and social media celebrities are taking more risks to attract millions of viewers. File Photo by How Hwee Young/EPA

Dec. 14 (UPI) -- Chinese social media celebrities are coming under heavy scrutiny after a young man fell to his death from the top of a 60-story building, and underage women were stripping on live-stream video, in what is the latest series of scandals to rock the Chinese Internet.

Chinese video bloggers and social media celebrities are taking more risks to attract millions of viewers, but according to Tencent Research Institute, 70 percent of Chinese online personalities earn less than $15 a month, the South China Morning Post reported Thursday.

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In the competition for attention, more personalities are taking extreme measures to attract fans.

Wu Yongning, the man who performed stunts after climbing towers then turning the camera on himself, died in November after falling from the Huayuan Hua Center, The New York Times reported Thursday.

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Wu, whose social media accounts went silent after the incident, was performing a stunt as part of a $15,000 "rooftopping" dare.

Fan, another Chinese Internet sensation who sings, dances and eats on live video, and has undergone plastic surgery so she can tell her fans she is 23, told the Post Chinese video bloggers go to extremes because of social pressure.

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"People tend to do a lot of eye-catching stuff to satisfy the curiosity of viewers," she said. "That's part of the reason behind his death."

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Fan, one of the more successful celebrities, works hard to keep up online interest, waking up at 9 in the morning then working until midnight daily, according to the Post.

Her next step is to transform herself into a fashion blogger, she said.

"A beautiful face and a curvy figure are not enough any more," she added.

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