He was “China’s No.1 Paparazzo”—until the government decided he wasn’t
Zhuo Wei (卓伟) knew the price of fame exactly. For months, his surveillance team had been following actress Bai Baihe, hoping to prove rumors of her infidelity. They’d traveled as far as Japan, but it was in Thailand that Zhuo’s snoopers finally hit the jackpot: Video of Bai embracing a model, identified as Zhang Aipeng, on the street.
As Zhuo prepared for publication, someone claiming to be Bai’s friend offered “a big number” to spike the story. Without waiting to hear the sum, Zhuo hit the post button, igniting yet another Chinese celebrity sex scandal, while adding a further 1.6 million followers to his “China’s Number One Paparazzo Zhuo Wei” Weibo account and 200,000 users to his entertainment news app, Quanming Xingtan (“All-Star Investigation”).
Two months later, Zhuo learned the other price of fame. His personal Weibo, with over 7 million followers, was abruptly shuttered, along with his Studio Fengxing (“Travel Like the Wind”) company account, the account of photographer “Detective Zhao Wu’er,” and those of nearly 90 gossip and entertainment blogs across WeChat, Weibo, Toutiao, and other platforms.
Papped is a story from our issue, “Beyond Go.” To read the entire issue, become a subscriber and receive the full magazine. Alternatively, you can purchase the digital version from the App Store.