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2018-11-29 11:06:55

The management company for a popular Chinese soft rock duo did an about-face on Wednesday, first denying rumors that one of its singers had been caught using drugs and later apologizing after Beijing police confirmed the arrest.

On Wednesday morning, users of microblogging platform Weibo began posting allegations that Chen Yufan — half of Yu Quan, a group that was once dubbed “the most popular duo in Chinese mainland” by state media — had been arrested for possession of methamphetamine and marijuana. Yu Quan’s management company, Giant Jump Entertainment, immediately jumped to Chen’s defense in a post from its official account, dismissing the rumors and saying it reserved the right to pursue legal action against slanderers.

However, the company’s post had been deleted by Wednesday afternoon, and an apology appeared in its place shortly after 5 p.m. “We are extremely saddened by and sorry for our artist Chen Yufan’s behavior, which has had a negative impact on society,” Giant Jump said, adding that it had posted its initial denial of Chen’s drug use before receiving an official notice from police. “We apologize to net users for mistakenly publishing our previous statement.”

But many netizens weren’t convinced that Giant Jump had been unaware of the arrest when it defended its client earlier on Wednesday. The day before, the duo’s 20th anniversary concert — scheduled to take place in Beijing on Christmas Day — had been canceled for undisclosed reasons. “Your company is so funny, you just slapped yourself in the face,” one user wrote under the apology. The comment had been liked nearly 3,500 times by Thursday evening.

According to the police report, the 43-year-old singer was caught taking drugs together with a 25-year-old woman on Monday. Both tested positive for illegal substances, and police found 7.96 grams of methamphetamine and 2.14 grams of marijuana in Chen’s home. “‘The Most Beautiful’ has withered because of #drugs,” Beijing police wrote in a Weibo post, punning on the name of Yu Quan’s first album.

The name of the group is a portmanteau combining the stage names of its two singers: Chen Yufan and Hu Haiquan. Following the drug use revelations, the latter musician took to Weibo to express his astonishment and concern for his bandmate.

“Why?! Why you? Why are you doing such horribly wrong things? Why not share your pain with the person you’re supposed to be closest to?” wrote the anguished Hu. “Why have you been hiding this from me for so long? Why did you choose such a stupid way to escape reality? Why don’t you consider your parents and your child when the going gets tough? How could you forget the trust and hope that so many friends have invested in us over the past 20 years? Why? Why?!”

China has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to narcotics. According to the country’s strict anti-drug laws, convicted dealers can be sentenced to life in prison or even death. According to official statistics published in June, there were 2.5 million known drug users in China as of last year.

As the Chinese government has cracked down heavily on drug dealers and users, elderly citizens with a passion for justice and a surfeit of free time have stepped in to lend a hand. Nicknamed the “Chaoyang Masses” after one of Beijing’s most centrally located districts, tips from these eagle-eyed seniors have led to the apprehension of over a dozen drug-using celebrities, including the son of renowned Hong Kong actor Jackie Chan.

Editor: David Paulk.

(Header image: Chen Yufan during an interview in Beijing, April 21, 2008. Ren Fengtao/VCG)