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Chen Xiaoxu's death rumored, confirmed

JDM070519chenxiaoxu.jpg
The Crimson Pearl Flower has returned to the Land of Illusion.

Chen Xiaoxu, the actress who played Lin Daiyu in the 1986 television production of Dream of the Red Mansions, passed away on 13 May from terminal cancer. Chen had been in the news earlier this year when it was reported that she had left behind her business and her family to become a Buddhist nun; her husband became a monk at the same time.

On Wednesday, writer Mianbeiren (棉被人) included the following lines as part of a longer blog post titled "We will lose what we do not cherish":

Another sad thing was that my mother-in-law just came back from Jizushan. Master Jing Kong was reciting scriptures for departed souls, because Chen Xiaoxu had passed away. Breast cancer. In the end, sister Lin let go of her immense wealth and the mortal realm to return to the heavens to live as a Crimson Pearl Flower fairy.

Here's how Sohu reported Mianbeiren's blog post:

On 16 May, 2007, at around 2pm, Sohu Entertainment received news that "Chen Xiaoxu has passed away from illness." After receiving this news, Sohu Entertainment immediately went to confirm it. We independently contacted Chen Xiaoxu's good friend Ji Yu (who played Miao Yu in Dream of the Red Mansions). Upon hearing the news, Ji Yu expressed astonishment. She said, "She's not dead!" and asked the media to treat Chen Xiaoxu gently, "Respect others, and respect the lives of others."

Then Sohu Entertainment learned from an employee of Shipang Advertising, Chen Xiaoxu's husband's company that "Chen Xiaoxu's health is indeed poor," but could not further confirm the rumor.

The information remained unconfirmed for over one day, and online opinion was divided between speculation on the details of Chen Xiaoxu's passing and condemnation of Mianbeiren for rumor-mongering. In its 17 May edition, Metropolitan Express ran the following indignant commentary:

Yesterday, Chen Xiaoxu was written to death

by Xu Ning and Mei Chunyan / ME

Embracing Buddhism should have been the start of Chen Xiaoxu's departure from the mortal world to pursue quiet self-cultivation, but looking at it now, it was instead the beginning of a heap of trouble.

Everyone has feelings for "sister Lin"; after Chen Xiaoxu and her husband entered religious orders, countless "why's" awaited answers. From the start, how they'd solve their married relationship and their companies, and later when the rumor that "Chen Xiaoxu chose to become a nun because of terminal breast cancer" was answered by Hao Tong "admitting that Chen Xiaoxu has breast cancer," Chen Xiaoxu finally was able to duck out of the public eye for a spell. However, rumors are fierce, and yesterday one came in through an especially alarming avenue - the few words of an online hack writer recklessly wrote Chen Xiaoxu to death...

Reporters for this paper have determined that the news that Chen Xiaoxu has passed away from her illness seems not to be true. However, as Chen Xiaoxu has not appeared, the veracity of our information cannot be completely determined.
...
The reporter called Master Chong Hua, vice-president of the Yunnan Buddhist Association, who said that many people called with questions yesterday, and explained the situation: "Chen Xiaoxu and Master Jing Kong had meant to go to Jizushan, Yunnan, two days ago to worship at the temple, but at the last minute the situation changed. Master Jing Kong suddenly canceled his trip, claiming 'Chen Xiaoxu's health is poor, so she cannot come to worship.' After Master Jing Kong canceled the trip, he hurried to Shenzhen to pray for blessings for Chen Xiaoxu." As to whether Chen Xiaoxu had passed away, Master Chong Hua could not be certain; the only certain thing was that she and Master Jing Kong had definitely not been to Jizushan, so the rumors about her passing away and the prayers for souls in torment fell apart on their own.

One reason for the media skepticism was that Mianbeiren, does not have a spotless reputation - in 2003, she was at the center of a plagiarism scandal on the Rongshuxia literature website, where she republished works by other writers (including Annie Baobei) without noting the source or the identity of the original authors.

Here's a discussion of online credibility by Hecaitou, another blogger with a long and storied reputation:

This afternoon I had just gotten to Lijiang when an editor gave me a phone call saying that there were rumors that Chen Xiaoxu had passed away from her illness at Jizushan. He asked me if I had any information. Netease, Bailing, and Tom all immediately republished this piece of news; reportedly, the source was a blog called "Mianbeiren", and they provided a screengrab.

My first reaction was disbelief, not because of my love for Sister Lin or whatever inclination I have toward Buddhism, but rather, the ID "Mianbeiren." I have said before that ID is life. For me, the ID Mianbeiren means zero trustworthiness; no matter what she says, it must first be verified. I first knew of Mianbieren because she was a "famous woman writer," but she plagiarized the writings of the woman Princess Lan and caused a great disturbance on Rongshuxia. Later, when she was at Sohu running the Beauty Writers Concentration Camp, listing all of the women online with a bit of literary reputation, and including a small photo. Interestingly, at the time she was pushing a woman named "Xiao Chu" but a year later the two met in court. Even today, Mianbeiren's Sina blog [defunct] is titled "Devoted to the high-end Chu's Song of the Slut," so the enmity is obvious.

Now, Mianbeiren has announced that Chen Xiaoxu died of breast cancer at Jizushan; her "mother-in-law" returned from Jizushan and said she was doing a ceremony for the departed soul of Chen Xiaoxu. This news was republished by many websites, becoming the piece of entertainment news with the greatest potential today. However, I ask all of you editors to have another look at that ID: Mianbeiren. If an ID is life, then the life of ID Mianbeiren is really degraded. If ID is character, then the character of the ID Mianbeiren is bankrupt. Whatever she says you must confirm yourself; this is even more difficult than for a normal ID, because her credit is unacceptable.

As web editors, you all should write on a notebook the names of a few IDs. They love to make scoops, but their credit is bankrupt. When websites republish their bullshit, it's best to look at the ID and then go back over their glorious deeds on the Internet back in the day.

Particularly Netease: yesterday you had an idiotic feature called "The Greatest Blog in the World." This I can understand, because news has become part of the overall battle strategy department. However, today you have put out the news that Chen Xiaoxu died from breast cancer - who do you think you are? If this is your new way of doing the news, then I will remove the subscription to Netease News from my iGoogle page at once. Previously, I had for a time used the Netease News channel to replace China's official news agencies and Sina News. Do not disappoint me, and especially do not use such extremely base methods to disappoint me.

Confirming reports of the deaths of famous individuals would seem to be a good thing even if the source is more reputable; this episode immediately brings to mind the reports by well-respected news agencies not long ago that Politburo member Huang Ju had passed away while in the hospital.

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There are currently 2 Comments for Chen Xiaoxu's death rumored, confirmed.

Comments on Chen Xiaoxu's death rumored, confirmed

In the beginning of your article it looks like, if she really is dead. But in the end it looks like a rumor. So what is true? She is dead or not?
If she is: Why don't you put your quotations in relation to your article?
If she is not: Why does your starting words sound like she is dead since 13 May?

You're right. That wasn't clear. Obituary.

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