Chinese police arrest pianist Li Yundi on prostitution allegations
Concert pianist Li Yundi, one of China’s most famous musicians, was arrested in Beijing on allegations of prostitution, state media said Thursday, Oct. 21, sparking some disbelief and a lot of mockery on social media Chinese.
Li was recently on the hit Chinese reality TV show Call Me By Fire, which features popular male celebrities competing to form a group.
Reuters could not immediately reach Li or a representative for comment.
Police from the Chaoyang District in the Chinese capital said they detailed a 39-year-old man named Li, as well as a 29-year-old woman named Chen after receiving information from the public about prostitution in a neighborhood they haven’t identified.
The two confessed to the illegal activity, according to the police statement on Weibo, a microblogging platform similar to Twitter. The police account then released a close-up photograph of a piano.
The official People’s Daily identified the man as Li Yundi, using the hashtag #LiYundiDetainedForProstitution. The hashtag was viewed some 790 million times within two hours of the police station and garnered around 200,000 comments.
” My God. Li Yundi, the prince of the piano? wrote a shocked netizen.
At just 18, Li became the youngest pianist to win first prize at the prestigious International Chopin Piano Competition in 2000. He went on to perform in Vienna, New York and St. Petersburg and later became the youngest juror of the competition in 2015.
The same year, he appeared in a commercial for a Toyota car alongside American singer Taylor Swift.