- Zhou has always been labelled as a rich kid.
- Zhou's parents had troubles since 2016.
- People suspect Zhou's parents may have connections in the government.
On October 17, Zhou Zhennan, leader of a popular Chinese idol boy band R1SE, posted “I really don’t know how to go on” on Weibo, where he has over 18 million followers. In the comments, he added “please stop calling and texting my parents, my family is my limit.” The post trended and people assumed it’s about “Sisheng,” fans who interfere with celebrities’ personal lives, which has been bothering many celebrities in China.
On October 25, the hashtag “Zhou Zhennan’s parents” trended, thanks to a post revealing that Zhou’s parents has been “Laolai” for years. The legal term Laolai refers to people who refuse to pay their debt even if they are capable of it. They are discredited and deprived of consuming “luxury services” like taking planes or high-speed trains, among many other negative consequences.
Since his first appearance in public, Zhou has been labelled as a rich kid: $15,000 guitar, numerous Rolex watches, studied in a private international school… His father, Zhou Yong, owns a real estate company Dadi. According to the post, however, Dadi has been in trouble since 2016. In 2018 alone, the company was involved in 350 legal cases. As for Zhou’s parents, they are claimed Laolai in nine cases for a total amount of over $20 million. In one case it’s just a few thousand dollars and they still refuse to pay.
Internet users wonder if Zhou’s parents have connections in the government, because they’re mainly accused of embezzling property owners’ money, which was gathered originally for maintenance of the buildings, and of owing debt to the banks. It’s very weird that Zhou’s parents can get away with no prison time under these accusations. Also, Zhou and his sister studied in private schools, which is also forbidden for the kids of Laolai. Some are expecting that as the case gets more attention, the victims may finally get their justice.
Interestingly, Zhou’s fans have taken initiative and moved to protect their idol. They post their support for Zhou and insult those who dare to judge him. They also delete massively negative posts about Zhou, an expensive service often used by celebrities for PR.
On October 26, Zhou commented on the case on Weibo. In his post, he says he didn’t know anything about it and that he would try his best to help his family. Clearly, the internet users don’t buy it.
This case reminds many of Qu Wanting, who got famous in China after her big hit You Exist in My Song in 2012. In April 2015, Qu’s mother Zhang, a former official in Ha’erbin, was arrested in China under allegations of corruption, embezzlement of over $55 million and abuse of power. Qu herself has always lived in Canada, and was dating the former Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson at that time. She has never admitted what her mother is accused of, despite many people blaming her for leading a life of luxury in Canada with illegal money.