Chinese Rapper Faces Backlash After Severing Finger During Livestream

 Beibei Iron Mic 2013
Courtesy of the Iron Mic 

Beibei 2013 at the Iron Mic National Rap Battle in Beijing, Club Mix.

BEIJING – Chinese rapper Li Jingze, better known by his stage name Beibei, deliberately severed part of his pinky during a livestream from Shaanxi province. The experienced battle rapper has been accused of sexual involvement with his fans and this was his way of demonstrating his innocence.

Beibei is part of the Xi’an-based hip-hop collective known as Huonghuahui (HHH) and also called GDLF Music. The 24-year-old hip hop performer, who is well-known in the underground rap scene in China for his freestyle skills, has said he was facing intense cyberbullying and this gesture was an apparent attempt to stem that tide. Ironically, he has faced an intense negative reaction to the incident from the online community in China and it has led to crackdown on hip-hop in China. 

The event, which violates China's Internet streaming regulations, took place on the evening of Aug. 5th. Li did not show the actual incision, but held up the bloody digit afterward. He used the popular platform Yizhibo to stream the action. Li had an approximate 720,000 followers on the site, which has since banned him and reported the incident to the authorities, according the Chinese media reports. They also report that Li's WeChat feed jumped from 150,000 to 680,000 and WeChat hashtags relating to the Shaanxi hip hop collective Huonghuahui (HHH) hit 70 million by Tuesday evening.

The incident has had intense negative reverberations in the hip-hop community in China. A source close to Billboard says the Chinese Association of Performing Arts

has since issued a list of banned rappers, including their ID numbers.

In addition the hip-hop collective/label Huonghuahui (HHH), said it was shutting down. HHH, which is also known as Triple H, told Sina News the rapper suffers from a thyroid disease that leads to mood swings.

Dana Tiago Burton, the founder of Iron Mic in China, a key force in initially driving hip-hop in the country, sympathized with Beibei, who initially gained popularity by competing in the Iron Mic rap battles in 2012 and 2013. Burton told Billboard: "The pressures of life for young people in China can be daunting. If you add in pop culture, fandom and social media pressures, it can be overwhelming."

Burton added, "There is so such much stigma and taboo around this topic. Beibei didn't win all of his rap battles, but this is one battle I sincerely hope he wins. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health, and far more important than fame or perceived success."