Home World In China, Taylor Swift fans line up to watch the Eras Tour

In China, Taylor Swift fans line up to watch the Eras Tour

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In China, Taylor Swift fans line up to watch the Eras Tour

Chinese Swifties will finally get to see Taytay — or “Meimei” as she’s affectionately called in China — strut her stuff in “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” on Sunday, when the global phenomenon opens in theaters.

Two months after the film opened in other parts of the world — and a box office take of $250 million later — Chinese authorities allowed the film to be released starting on New Year’s Eve, one of the busiest times of the year for moviegoing in the country. 1.4 billion people.

Swift has a huge and powerful fan base in China, where her albums have topped the charts and amassed millions on streaming services.

Last year, she was the best-selling foreign artist on the Chinese charts. Her 2022 album “Midnights” sold nearly a quarter of a million copies in China on its first day of sales.

The re-recorded “Fearless (Taylor Version)” sold out in just five minutes, making Swift the best-selling artist on major Chinese streaming platforms during the first part of 2021, even beating out megastars like Jay Chou, the king of “Mandu-” Taiwanese. “Pop.”

Whether you like Taylor Swift or not, “The Eras Tour” is amazing

News of the film’s impending release was met with jubilation and feverish planning – with thousands of fans rallying around the country.

Swift is one of the few foreign celebrities to have gained more than 10 million followers on Weibo, China’s answer to Twitter, and the online reaction has been breathless.

Since the announcement of the film’s arrival in China, the social messaging platform WeChat has been filled with groups in different cities dedicated to strategizing on how to band together to buy tickets before they go on sale.

Klein Zhu, a 23-year-old who works in her family’s business in Jinan, the smog-plagued capital of northeastern Shandong province, told friends she was planning a viewing party at a local theater. Word spread, and her phone lit up – more than 1,500 people were in touch, wanting to be part of the group.

Now she’s organizing nothing less than an extravaganza: three viewing sets and a short play about the infamous drama between Swift, Kanye West, and his ex-wife, Kim Kardashian.

Zhou dreams that her group’s videos might one day show Swift herself how much she means to Chinese fans. “I want her to see the power of the fans here,” she said. “China is a big market, but she never planned to tour here.”

Many of Jinan Swift’s family members are in their early 20s and are facing an adulthood in China that looks a little less bright than the one they were promised, as the country struggles with its first economic downturn in their lifetimes. They became hooked on Swift when she released “1989” during their high school years, finding meaning and solace in its lyrics.

“Each of her songs fits into a moment from my different experiences,” Cho said. Her current favorite lyrics come from the song “New Romantics,” where Swift sings about building a castle out of bricks that were thrown at her.

“No matter what setbacks or difficulties I face, I just have to keep thinking that everything will be okay,” she said.

Economics (Taylor version)

In Beijing, people scoured IMAX theaters to secure souvenir popcorn cups and drinkware printed with Swift’s face even before the film’s release. In Chengdu, fans plan coordinated outfits with references to their favorite albums.

Sebastian Han, a 23-year-old translator in Jinan, has been preparing for this moment for years, rehearsing Swift’s songs at regular karaoke nights with friends.

Hahn credits Swift with immersing him in the English language through her music. Song by song, learn the lyrics. He now works full time as a translator.

Han said Swift’s music means more to people in China than pop songs about love and romance, it is about deeper issues such as how society values ​​women and its view on success, ambition and betrayal.

“Songs are not just for listening to the melody,” he added. “They’re also to explore the deeper social issues behind them.”

Taylor Swift’s next feud may be with the Chinese government

There is a strict vetting process for foreign films released in China, and not all American blockbusters reach this level. In recent years, authorities have focused on promoting Chinese films, making it rare for them to be one of the few foreign films allowed into China.

Although other American celebrities have been excluded from China over political comments, Swift has managed to stay away from scrutiny — despite merchandise that appeared to spark controversy.

With the release of her album “1989” in 2014, she sold merchandise that read “TS 1989” – her initials and year of birth.

It is also possible to interpret the arrangement of the letters and numbers as a reference to a historical event that Chinese censors have worked for decades to erase from public consciousness: Beijing’s violent crackdown on protesters in Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989.

Even indirect references to this history have put Chinese celebrities in an awkward position. But for Swift, the censors appear to be turning a blind eye.

In fact, Chinese state media seems to have nothing but praise for Swift. Articles in the People’s Daily, the mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party, and in the nationalist Global Times call her a “meme,” which means fans call her a “meme.” In Mandarin, the word sounds like a word meaning beauty but can be written as “unlucky,” which some say describes her track record with romantic relationships, and previously on the Billboard charts.

“We sincerely hope that Mimi can enjoy her stay in China and put on a great performance for her followers to enjoy,” the Global Times said in 2019, before Swift performed at a shopping event for e-commerce giant Alibaba.

In 2021, People’s Daily headlined a story about Swift’s chart-topping album sales in China: “Taylor Swift’s Fearless Album Hits the Right Tone in China, Again.”

“Mimi is forever and always shining among her Chinese fans, and her luck never seems to run out,” she said.

Vic Chiang contributed to this report.

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