SHANGHAI – Chinese media has been thrown into a whirl of recrimination after a Shenzhen newspaper took photographs of dead young singing star Yao Beina.
Yao, who appeared on the “Voice of China” song contest in 2013 and recorded a Chinese version of “Let It Go” from Disney’s “Frozen,” died last week at age 33 after a recurrence of her breast cancer. Before she died on Friday, Yao asked that her corneas be removed and made available for transplant.
Three reporters from the Shenzhen Evening News posed as medical staff, witnessed the post-mortem operation to remove Yao’s corneas and took photographs.
It is not clear what the newspaper’s publishing intentions were, but, having been caught by a wave of negative social-media commentary, it says the photographs were deleted.
The paper then attempted to make up for its actions by announcing the establishment of a charitable foundation in Yao’s name. But that too has turned into a public relations misfire.
Fans, other media and Yao’s management at Huayi Brothers Music said that it was inappropriate for the paper and the surgeon who allegedly allowed in the fake hospital assistants to be using the singer’s name. The paper has cancelled its plans for a foundation and promised to return donations received.
On Sunday, China National Radio reported that patients in Shenzhen and Chengdu had successfully received Yao’s corneas.