On December 21, 111 producers, screenwriters, directors, and authors released a joint statement boycotting Guo Jingming (郭敬明) and Yu Zheng (于正). The letter stated that Guo Jingming and Yu Zheng had a record of plagiarism and they were still on variety shows creating hype. They stated their methods in chasing after click rates and high ratings has led to disgust from their industry peers and from all walks of life. They also said not to give plagiarizers a platform and to promote artists who are ethically and artistically sound, and respects originality. Among one of the co-signors is Qiong Yao (琼瑶), famous author of “Return of the Pearl Princess”.
Guo Jingming issued an apology on December 31, finally admitting that his 2004 novel, “Never-Flowers in Never-Dream” (梦里花落知多少), was plagiarized from author, Zhuang Yu’s (庄羽) book, “Inside the Circle, Outside the Circle” (lit. 圈里圈外). When Guo Jingming was found guilty of plagiarizing Zhuang Yu’s book in 2006, he never publicly admitted to it nor apologized for his actions. He had only published the verdict of the case in the newspaper.
In his statement, Guo Jingming apologized to Zhuang Yu and said, “Sorry, I did an extremely wrong demonstration. Please take me as a warning, reject plagiarism, respect creativity.” Guo Jingming also said he would compensate Zhuang Yu with all the royalties he received from the book. Zhuang Yu accepted his apology and suggested to use that money to set up an anti-plagiarism fund helping artists to protect their works and accept public supervision. Guo Jingming agreed to set up the fund with Zhuang Yu.
Yu Zheng also followed up with an apology to Qiong Yao for plagiarizing her 1992 novel, “Plum Blossom Scar” (梅花烙), with his series, “Palace 3: The Lost Daughter” (宫锁连城). At the time of the accusations, Yu Zheng denied any wrongdoing. His apology to Qiong Yao on the last day of 2020 said, “I know it was wrong. I used 6 years to directly face this mistake. Once again, I give you my sincerest apologies.” Yu Zheng said he has been facing a lot of pressure these past 6 years due to paying the damage to Qiong Yao and facing pressure from investors and the distribution channels’ demands for compensation. Yu Zheng, “This is the best penalty for me and also a bloody lesson.”
In addition to the public apology, Yu Zheng also announced he would be departing from the show, “I Am An Actor 3” (我就是演员 3), and going back to creating in light of the incident. Qiong Yao accepted Yu Zheng’s apology and hoped that he could really learn from his mistakes. She revealed when the incident first came about, he had reached out to her wanting to talk in person, but didn’t offer any apologies. She also hoped that artists like Yu Zheng and Guo Jingming will not be the role models for success in China.