Yundi Li is sacked by Chinese arts orgs

Yundi Li is sacked by Chinese arts orgs


norman lebrecht

October 22, 2021

The state-run Global Times reports that the international pianist Yundi Li has had his membership cancelled by the Chinese Musicians’ Association for ‘extremely negative social impact.’

Yundi was arrested this week in Beijing for allegedly consorting with a female prostitute.

The China Association of Performing Arts declared today that his alleged behavior reflects ‘an indifference to law and a lack of moral self-discipline’. The Association has called for all members to boycott Yundi Li.

This is on the point of turning into a witch hunt.

Global Times adds: Observers pointed out that if Li Yundi’s illegal behavior is confirmed, it will be almost impossible for him to continue his career in China, as the country vows zero tolerance for fallen entertainers.



  • Anthony Sayer says:

    Give him asylum over here.

  • V. Lind says:

    My only news is here, but you are still using “alleged” and “charged.” I take it there is no due process in China.

    • Cyosio says:

      No longer alleged, not suspected, it was confirmed, caught in the act on the spot and he confessed, they also obtained proof of payment to the prostitute. Prostitution is illegal but not a felony in China, people are detained for between 5 and 15 days, not much a due process needed if you are caught in bed and the woman is a prostitute. This is not the first time Yundi got arrested for hiring a prostitute, in fact he was arrested earlier this year for that too, but was never made public, this is a repeated offense.

      • waltzNo1 says:

        He was not even caught on spot. The police found the payment record from the sex worker’s phone and trace back to Li. And Li was arrested in the airport. This is rediculous.

      • V. Lind says:


        I feel very sorry for him. But in the west, there has long been a campaign not just to prosecute the women, as has happened for so long, but the men who solicit them. I wonder what happened to the woman in this case.

      • MusicLover says:

        From what I got from the Chinese news, he was arrested at the Beijing airport when he came home from another city.
        The prostitue was caught with another man earlier, when the police checked her cell phone records, it showed that Yundi had paid this woman before for her service, even used his real name. He also asked the woman to meet him again after he got back to Beijing. That’s why he was arrested at the airport.

  • John Borstlap says:

    An absurd story, all in all.

    Governments deciding over morality of their population: how do they know they have the correct parameters?

  • Kenny says:

    Does the gender of the consort matter any longer, outside I guess of China and Indonesia? (Age yes, gender no.) 21st century C.E. ‘n’ all.

  • Aleph says:

    The mystery remains: what did he do to fall out of favor of the Communist Party so much that they targeted him like that?

    He’s not making tons of money, his social media presence is rather benign, his following is good but relatively modest by Chinese standards…

    OK, I’m just going to say it: Frankly, if it was Lang Lang or Yuja Wang whom the Communist Party went after, no one would be surprised, but Yundi, the quietest of the three?

    • Cyosio says:

      Looks like you are not familiar with Yundi’s income structure and his presence in China. He’s paid millions for appearing on shows and from endorsements in China. And China only.

    • Fliszt says:

      Clearly this is retribution – he must have rubbed someone the wrong way. What hypocrisy! Yundi brought honor to China, and this is the thanks he gets?

  • So I guess China doesn’t have a talk show like “Leno” where he can go have his “Hugh Grant moment” and be done with it.

  • Urtext says:

    Prostitution is a crime in China? What is he doing there.

  • This news was released on the same day as the winners of this year’s Chopin competition in Warsaw. What a fantastic “coincidence”! We have to admire the great “subtlety” of a certain regime…

  • Paulus Insolitus says:

    It is a common occurrence that this sort of things happened in countries like China. In socialist regimes an artist cannot be bigger than the state.
    He is not probably the first one, and most certainly he will not be the last.

  • Neil Yates says:

    Better take up Canadian or U.S. citizenship or any western nationhood where the government prefers to keep out of a man’s bedroom behaviour. Prostitution is a serious social issue and has long been a problem but there is no reason to single out Li Yundi and boycott him for what is an all too common human vice.

    • Nick2 says:

      The fact is that his career in the West has been on a downward track for some years. As reported in this blog, in 2015 he performed the Chopin First Concerto on tour with the Sydney Symphony in Seoul. He made so many mistakes and then skipped several bars that the conductor had to stop the orchestra and restart. He should know that work backwards. He then indicated he blamed the conductor before apologizing on his weibo site (China’s most popular social network) the next day. In all my years of concert going, I have never heard of a soloist virtually sabotaging his own performance like this.

      He made huge fees for concerts and recitals in China, vastly higher than in the West. But now he has been barred by the China Musicians Association, that source of income will dry up.

      As for the comment by Plush (below), I assume this refers to media reports that started about a dozen years ago that he is gay. There was much comment for several years about a relationship with one of Asia’s mega singers, actors and movie directors, the American of Taiwanese descent, Wang Leehom. Neither party denied them, although Wang later married and now has three young children. But the rumours resurfaced some months ago in view of his not having been seen with his wife for 2 years. But he and Yundi LI have again been seen together. It’s a long-running story the media will not leave alone.

      • Music Lover says:

        There is an evil force which had been working to drag down Yundi since he returned to China from his study in Germany around 2007.
        They consistently claim that Yundi always play a lot of wrong notes during any performance, worse playing than any high school student can do. In the earlier years they even try to tell the Chinese audience that Chopin international competition is not that high level so Yundi’s gold medal is no big deal. When that lie did not work they started to say Yundi’s winning moment was at the top of his career, that his playing is deteriorating ever since.
        There is a collection of Yundi’s not so good performances on YouTube, posted by some dude named “Evil Yundi”.
        They also wrote very terrible reviews whenever Yundi had a new CD coming out, even before the CD was on sale in the Chinese market and before anyone had a chance to listen to it.
        They had a great time attacking him, Included some lies, when Yundi made a big mistake during the concert in Korea in 2015.
        They chose to ignore the article wrote by the concert master who tried to tell the facts.

  • Plush says:

    Was the pros. a man?

  • Jerzy says:

    Thank you for following this story. We need to stand behind this great artist.