Hello all you wonderful figthusiasts! Today is the day that I hit 600 fan figs on my spreadsheet total (not all in hand, the vast majority are in some stage of production or transport), and I wanted to take a minute to stop and celebrate what is, by all accounts, an incredible number.
This is less about me (and my perhaps fiscally-questionable use of disposable cash) and more about the fact that more than 600 individual figures of Gong Jun and Zhang Zhehan were produced and made solely by fans. That this many actually exist in the world. What this is about, above all other things, is about love, and resilience, and the awe-inspiring, unstoppable combination of both.
I don't normally talk about the current situation with Zhang Zhehan and Chinese entertainment, because this blog is meant to be a little island of happiness and fun for us that love this show, love these two actors, and love seeing cute renditions of them. But 600...well, 600 feels powerful. It feels like something worth talking about.
This fandom has had half of our vibrant, beautiful soul ripped from us in the nastiest, cruelest, most contemptible way possible. This is greed and evil in the most overt form I've seen in the world, and it was horrifying to watch it unfold that August.
As overseas fans, we at least can still see Zhang Zhehan's past works, post videos and photos of him, and freely say his name as much as we want. The Chinese fandom cannot. Zhang Zhehan has been so comprehensively erased from Chinese media that he cannot even use his own name. The fandom can't even search for his name online, his pictures and videos have been removed, and any of the shows or movies that feature him that remains still available has him (literally) scrubbed from the screen.
This is what I see when I search for Zhang Zhehan on Taobao, Weidian, and Xianyu:
The Chinese fans have taken matters into their own hands, and stood up and fought back and refused to forget him. The fig makers, the doll makers, the merch makers - all of these incredibly brave, loyal, and loving fans have gone out there and dedicated thousands and thousands of hours of their own time and their own money to keeping his memory fresh, his work front and center, and his light constantly burning.
They took him from the fans, but they can't make the fans let him go.
Luckily, the fandom still has the other half of it's soul, and continues to celebrate Gong Jun and his accomplishments, and his own fiercely loyal and great heart, and celebrates the love and affection and care these two souls have for each other. Zhehan promised Junjun forever on May 5th, 2021, and the fandom honors and helps keep his promise.
Think about it. Six-hundred-plus fan-created figurines of the two of them. I don't even own all the fan figs - there's absolutely more than this, I'd estimate closer to 700.
There's Wenzhou figs, of course, but random side character in a long ago TV show? Check. Main characters? Check. Appearance(s) on a variety show? Check. Ad campaigns? (Lots of) magazine shoots? Check check. Casual airport outfit? Workout pose? Douyin moment? any number of Weibo posts? Livestream? not just one, not just two, not just three, renditions of childhood photos? Check check check.
And the figs are still coming. I have a whole list of figs in sketch form sitting in my Weidian cart, waiting to be opened for deposits. One after another, fig makers dipping deep into their precious hoards of recorded shows and magazines and photos and videos of Zhehan, designing one fig after another. Every time Junjun wears some fancy new designer outfit, fans are hard at work pairing that look with a complementary one from Zhehan's archive, determined to keep these two front and center in a country where they can't even type Zhehan's name into a search engine without it being censored.
My respect for the Chinese fandom and the fan creators is immense. They have souls of steel. Every time I hold one of these figs in my hand, and marvel at the cleverness and creativity and all the fine little details, I feel the strength of that connection to them, that iron determination, the fierce will to persevere, that pride and joy, and the love that can't be stopped. 坚强 indeed.
Yeah, 600+ figs is a trauma response, no question. For the fan makers and the fan buyers. But it's a response, all right. Today I have 600 and more tiny (giant) shouts of, you can't stop us, we're going to keep loving and celebrating and remembering him no matter what happens.
It's incredible. I don't know why 600 is the number that really hits me - I had thought it would be 500, but I blew past 500 without blinking in a frenzy of late night and early morning fig drops, and then it was Gong Jun's birthday, and a tidal wave of love and figs, and now here I am. I was at 598 yesterday and already today I'm at 612. I'll be at 700 before I know it, with a lot of remainders starting to be released and the Spring Festival coming up.
I have less than 200 fan figs actually at home, and it's ... a lot. My husband asked me a while back, staring at my display shelves, so, what's the end game here? and I just looked at him, and said, I don't know.
I really don't. I have to believe this is totally unprecedented, but then again, what happened to him is totally unprecedented. The only thing I know that if the fans keep making them, I'm going to keep supporting them.
So here's to resistance, and resilience, and love. Here's to the fans staying strong, and here's to Gong Jun and Zhang Zhehan. It's going to be a glorious sunrise on the mountaintop when it comes.
May 3, 2022 - 813 - the Reprise Part 8.1/? KEEP CALM and "ZZH"'s new video
F*ck I have so much work to do but I feel it's necessary to make a post on this.
New video posted on his hacked instagram, check it for yourself.
Zhehanzi has posted an ENG subbed version here.
All right, I will activate my research scientist brain for this. Although I'm out of the field now, I was an NSF Graduate Fellow (National Science Foundation) in the US and was lucky to receive valuable and advanced training in research science (biochemistry/structural biology) in undergrad and during my PhD in a few research universities, I think it's time to use this skill, my one logical brain cell left is for this moment >:(
As background, when looking at a problem, I will lead you through the steps that researchers will ask and take in order to solve a problem. I think in these times of emergency, it's important to force yourself out of your own shoes and look at the big picture, then zoom in on the details, separate yourself from the facts at hand, ONLY then can we actually start finding out what's happening.
For example, if we want to create a new vaccine for a disease, we ask, what is the problem at hand? An example answer, there is a new infectious disease and it's causing deaths in the population. Then we ask, what is the new virus? What is it made of, what is the outer envelope or shell made of? What do we ALREADY know? We compare it to similar viruses. We try to completely understand the virus inside and outside. Then when we have full knowledge of it, can we develop a strategy to combat it, i.e. creating a vaccine (its own long steps).
Let's try it with what happened with this video today.
What is the problem?
How did it happen? Why is it important?
Why did this information come out now? Is it believable? What is the method we should use to break this down? Do we need repeat trials in duplicate, triplicate and what are the statistically significant facts?
What can we conclude and how do we move forward in future directions? Why would someone fake this?
Follow the money.
1 - What is the problem?
Facts: A video was posted on ZZH's instagram featuring his likeness and vocal affectations. An english subbed video is linked above. He discusses these issues ONLY: the cp fandom, his merchandise, his journey to learning poetry and guitar, and blaming/flaming people for his current state.
2 - How did it happen? Why is it important?
There were three sources of "ZZH" - the WeChat profile of ZSJ (now gone), Li XueZheng Uncle Li (his weibo is now deleted), and this hacked instagram account.
The video was uploaded to his known-to be hacked instagram. We can glean that this instagram is hacked because of QuelleVous2 and various videos debunking each and every new post on his instagram. I, myself, have also made a post debunking the ZSJ (Zhang Sanjian) video that accidentally showed a portion of the guitarist's face/chin - this was posted on the ZSJ WeChat profile that is now deleted.
We know that ZZH's instagram was hacked because Xie Yihua, his ex music manager in 2021's son, Abner, liked to talk up his connections to famous people back then. He made a post saying that many people have access to ZZH's account, and the phone number linked to it isn't even ZZH's phone number. He didn't realize that people would be going through all his comments and posts to find out what he's said.
This is important because he has an ongoing legal case against CAPA. Anything that affects his image will affect public perception, will affect government perception, will thus AFFECT HIS CASE.
3 - Why did this information come out now? Is it believable?
Timing: Today is the fandom's happiest day, the anniversary of the Word of Honor / Shan He Ling concerts. It's also CPF's happiest days. The timing of this video is in itself, suspicious. Why post it today of all days? I have two answers: 1) To have maximum impact against ZZH/GJ's fandom and break CPF's hearts. 2) In having this maximum impact, it was either HIS OWN intention to do so, OR whoever orchestrated this video's intention to use their strongest weapon against us, and therefore, HIM.
Is it believable?
Deep Fakes exist. It uses computational AI to calculate and map out a person's facial features, and in doing so can manipulate those features into different expressions. AI is trained to do this by just going through large databases of human faces and expressions and slowly forms an algorithm that the user can manipulate. One can also do this with voices. Look at this famous deep fake of Tom cruise. I'm NOT saying it's a deep fake, because with sufficient technology, it's hard to actually TELL that it's a deep fake, it's just ONE possibility.
2. Another example of someone using deep fake technology to play around with ZZH's face on a woman's body lol
3i - What method should we use to break this down?
So the next question is, is the video authentic?
First, it could be a deep fake (like above).
Second, since sometimes we can't even believe our own eyes and ears in today's world of advanced technology, I have to rely on what I KNOW from previous years. Compare the data to known data sets, known circumstances.
Facts we know: From LXZ's audio interview, ZZH is very focused on gaining back his name and reputation and his fight against CAPA. This instagram video, however, mentions NOTHING about his case against CAPA. Which we know, for a FACT, that he's filing with the Beijing Police Department against CAPA. Uncle Li showed this. Who could possibly benefit from distracting us, the public, and fandom from CAPA SO MUCH? HM? WHO.
3ii - ZZH's vocal affectations are free-style, but not in this new video.
Also in this audio interview, and previous interviews if you've watched his, ZZH tends to make very deep statements in REAL time. So he's often just freethinking and word vomitting and sometimes it doesn't make sense. lol. He says "uh", "um", "and," a lot. Compared to the instagram video, that insta video is definitely scripted. He's very smooth here and it's like practiced lines, which is against his character to do so.
Just listen to his birthday live stream and compare it to the new insta video, it sounds noticeably different, you don't even need to know mandarin??
Compare ZZH's audio interview with LXZ vs this new video, notice the difference? This is also AFTER the trauma of 813. Why would there be such a marked difference between when Uncle Li posted the video and now?
ZZH himself said in interviews for SHL/WOH that he rarely read his lines before the day of filming, he liked to read them right before or the morning of so he could really get the feeling of what he's saying and not wear it out.
Conclusion so far: This "ZZH" is different from what we know. He's distracting from his own legal case. His speaking cadence is different. He's reading off of a script. It DOESN'T mean that it isn't him, but it casts a lot of doubt on the circumstances of this video, doesn't it?
What else do we know about ZZH? He hates making fans spend money on shit that's out of their comfort zones. He's apologized to fans for his albums costing them money. THIS IS ZZH. In this video, this "ZZH" is peddling his new merch, which is notoriously overpriced and costs a few bucks to make, but is charging like 10x the cost. It's also PROVEN TO BE REUSED DESIGNS from other idols that Xie Yihua has managed.
3iii - Xie Yihua's history: She's been known to have many failed/de-registered trademarks. She's been involved in a company with CAPA's president, and she's lost a lot of money and may be in bigtime debt $$$.
Why would a person who is in massive debt want to suddenly start shilling merch for a cancelled idol? And that idol couldn't speak up or else it would jeopardize his legal case? And the fans are so desperate for his safety and well-being that they'd be fooled into purchasing these outlandishly priced items? Is this not too convenient a case for her to pass up? Free money to pay back her debts? It's certainly a possibility.
In most scandals, most cases, as you would know if you've lived in this world long enough, all you have to do is follow the money.
Follow the money: Let's not FORGET that Xie Yihua and her sister own 100% shares of the company that sells this "ZZH" / "ZSJ" merchandise. THIS IS A FACT. It's public information and listed, check QV's tweets for it. I don't have time to go find it rn. SO, if Xie Yihua is so indebt and attached to CAPA, is it not in her interest to distract us SO BADLY that ppl stop caring about CAPA? That ZZH truly loses his fans for good? That she can use him to make a quick buck to pay off her loan sharks and debtors? IT absolutely is. Always follow the money.
IF IT WERE TRULY HIM, why wouldn't this company be registered under ZZH or his mom? He's said so in interviews that he doesn't even look at his own bank account bc his mom handles all of that. He owes his mom so much, she gave up their house, her job, her life to make sure he succeeded as an actor. Of course he would give her and trust her with his money. It's not even illogical to make this leap, it's just fact?
Other items from this instagram have been debunked:
The handwritten letter was already debunked bc the handwriting style is different, the signature is TOTALLY different, the thumb is photoshopped, the shadows are unnatural. And this video mentions the fake letter as being real, so does it not cast doubt on the authenticity of the video itself? That it tries to make a fake letter real? Then what does it mean? The video itself seems fake, then. Just by the transitive property. A=B, B=C, therefore A=C. The letter is fake, so the account is fake. If the account is fake, the video is fake.
The guitar and phone-drop video was debunked by a sound engineer, and several other people lol.
The photoshoots were probably older and already been debunked. His necklace seemed to be photoshopped on because you could see the reflections in it that didn't reflect the buildings of the Forbidden City. His earrings were probably for promoting Ambush, could've been an endorsement that didn't go through. Also on Bluebirdmuppet's twitter or QV's, go check it.
3 iv - ZZH's character as we know it is different from what this video shows
In an unofficially published set of interviews, ZZH talked about his motivations as an actor and career goals. It was pre-813, last year. He talks about having responsibility to criticism, to shaking off the bad feedback, to focus on moving forward.
This ZZH is consistent with the LXZ Zhang Zhehan. He takes all the hits on the chin, he picks himself back up, he believes in procedural justice, he takes things slowly, and life slowly. He doesn't jeopardize his own case even when his whole world was shutting down in 813. SO why speak up now? He wouldn't. The timing is for MAXIMUM hurt for us, the CPF's. The fandom that Xie Yihua has been trying to break up. The fandom who loves Gong Jun, who Xie Yihua hates, and has been actively goading her ZSJ stans to attack. The Gong Jun who has had to endure cyberviolence the past couple of weeks, who had his private information leaked.
ZZH's character isn't one to point and blame, if he doesn't like you, he just won't listen to you, but he won't call you out on it. He's said so, if the fans want him to do something, he won't listen, he just does whatever and if you like it, you like it, he's not gonna go after you for it. He's a grown man who has real shit to deal with? Not fandom disputes all the time.
3v - Do we need repeated trials of his character? How do we compare this version with previous? How many instances do we need?
If you can't trust your eyes and ears, and you need more information, rely on information that's already been confirmed. On facts that are already out there. In science, if a new virus emerges, we immediately compare it to what we know, what DNA/RNA sequences does it have in common with other viruses? What protein structures? What infection mechanism is it using that's similar? This will guide us on how to analyze the new virus. It's the same here.
We know ZZH wouldn't goad his fans into fighting, wouldn't sell his merchandise vs getting on with his own legal case, wouldn't speak from a script instead of from the heart. These are valid conclusions based on his previous actions, interviews, interactions, and observations of personality. There are HUNDREDS if not thousands of instances that we can compare this ONE video from a DEBUNKED instagram account to. That's how many trials we have, how many repeated observations we've made.
This video is statistically insignificant compared to the literally boundless endless piles of evidence we have that this isn't "ZZH" as we know him.
4 - So then what? What can we conclude? How do we move forward?
So now that we've established the facts:
Follow the money: Xie Yihua is involved in many failed companies and trademarks, and may be in debt enough to manipulate an easy target (ZZH) and milking him and his fans out of their $$$. Why wouldn't his ZSJ merchandise be registered under him and his mother? And why do all proceeds go towards Xie Yihua and her sister?
ZZH's voice and vocal affectations are different from this instagram video, which may mean the video is scripted
ZZH's personality is calm and chill, even after 813 as shown during LXZ's audio interview with him about his case against CAPA
This new ZZH's personality is markedly different: cold, and harsh, and pointed. Especially at CP fans.
Deep fakes exist. It can mimic both faces and voices and bodies.
So the answer to, "Is this video authentic?" can be
1) No, it's not because of all the previous evidence listed above.
OR 2) Yes, it is, and he's being coerced into saying these things as we know how shadowy and corrupt c-ent actually is. His face does not look okay. He doesn't look healthy and happy.
OR 3) Yes, it is real, and he's a changed person, which is a conclusion that is easy to make at first glance, but does not benefit him AT ALL. It only serves to break up his fandoms, drain him of his support in the public eye, and distracts from his case against CAPA.
Point 1 is what I believe. Point 2 is possible. Point 3 is what I believe Xie Yihua and the minions behind the instagram account want us to believe. Point 3 easily knocks out all of her problems, doesn't it?
No one would be around to debunk her shit bc mostly CPF's do it or people who like both GJ and ZZH as individuals like QV/Blue. This shitshow will take over weibo and cause public opinion to turn back, after the leader of the justice for the people movement - Uncle Li - was deleted. It will cause a distraction against the real ZZH's legal case against CAPA. AND CAPA will be let off the hook because no one will be around to care anymore. See? In what way would point 3 make sense? He's actively advocating for his own social and legal suicide? No.
So how to move forward? The journey is the same. I still support him and his case to clear his name. I still support THEM and their love, which after hundreds if not thousands of interactions and so-called "candies" have already proven. This one video is NOT enough evidence to debunk thousands of things, although it may be the MOST emotionally provocative - as it is its intention to be.
Now I have to go do actual work now, I thank you for reading this far and hanging in there. Wait for the next days. I will update as I see fit.