Stop drug abuse, set good example
Withpolicecatchingonecelebrityafteranotherfordrug abuse, thequestionuppermostinthepublicmindis: What’swrongwiththehaloedcharactersof theentertainmentindustry?
On Tuesday, Beijing police said actor GaoHu was detained on Aug 4 for the possession and use of marijuana and methamphetamine. The latest celebrity involved in drug abuse in recent months, Gao was caught with another actor and two more people in Beijing’s Chaoyang district with about 7 grams of marijuana and 1 gram ofmethamphetamine.
Gao, 40, born inQingdao, Shandong province, has confessed that he had been smoking marijuana and also tested positive for drug after being detained. He has acted in some wellknown movies, including director Zhang Yimou’s The Flowers ofWar in 2011 and Flying Swords of Dragon Gate in 2013. Gao left a deep impression on TV viewers with his vivid portrayal of the simple and honest character ofXu Zhu, one of the main male figures in the 2003 version of Tianlongbabu (or Semi-Gods and Semi-Devils), and has quite a fan following. Gao’s detention came only days after actor Zhang Mo, son of popular actor Zhang Guoli, was caught smoking marijuana in his villa. Zhang Mo had been detained for 13 days in 2012 for the same offense, following which his father and director Feng Xiaogang issued a public apology, and requested the people and authorities to give the “lost young man” a chance to mend his ways and lead “a new life”.
On June 24, police caught scriptwriter, novelist and TV host Ning Caishen in Beijing for taking methamphetamine. The 39-year-old confessed that he had been taking drugs since December 2013 and used his weibo account to issue a public apology and promise never to touch narcotics again. Many celebrities, including actress Yao Chen, reposted Ning’s apology online, expressing their support for him.
Before Ning, director Zhang Yuan and singer Li Daimo were arrested in Beijing for taking drugs, with Li being sentenced to nine months in prison for hosting crystal meth parties in his apartment in March. In April 2011, Hong Kong actor Max Mok was held in Beijing for smoking marijuana. And three months before that rock singer Xie Tianxiao was nabbed for the same reason.
The detention or arrest of so many celebrities for drug abuse within such a short time has forced people to ask which star will be the next to fall in the ongoing crackdown on drug addicts. Actors, singers and other entertainment personalities are considered role models by many, and their actions, good as well as bad, can influence the behavior of youths.
There is no denying that behind the admirable surface of the entertainment industry there are some bitter stories. The fierce competition to survive, let alone excel, in the industry puts many celebrities under huge pressure. In fact, Ning Caishen told police that he “initially used drugs to ease the pressure he faced as a writer”. However, celebrities cannot use the excuse of mental or psychological pressure, no matter how intense it is, to commit a crime, which drug abuse is.
Celebrities are accorded higher social status and exercise more influence than ordinary people, and usually have much easier access to social resources. But they should not exploit these privileges for self-aggrandizement and using narcotics. They have to realize that with high social status comes greater social responsibility.
Our entertainment industry is ridden with scandals — if one star violates traffic rules, another insults fans and still another is involved in a casting couch scandal. But the time has come for celebrities to mend their ways, follow the law in letter and spirit, and refrain from illegal activities for the sake of themselves, the entertainment industry and their fans.
On Wednesday 42 entertainment companies announced they will not hire actors and actresses who are involved in drug use. Hopefully this will be a good start to clean the drugs from China’ entertainment industry. The author is a senior writer with China Daily. firstname.lastname@example.org