Celebrated Chinese pianist Li Yundi detained on suspicion of soliciting prostitution

22 October 2021, 09:49 | Updated: 22 October 2021, 11:25

Celebrated Chinese concert pianist Li Yundi held on suspicion of prostitution
Celebrated Chinese concert pianist Li Yundi held on suspicion of prostitution. Picture: Alamy

By Maddy Shaw Roberts

One of China’s best-known musicians has been detained in Beijing over prostitution allegations.

Chinese concert pianist Li Yundi, the youngest International Chopin Piano Competition winner in history, has been detained on suspicion of soliciting a prostitute.

Police in Beijing said they had detained a 39-year-old man named Li, along with a 29-year-old man surnamed Chen, on Thursday after hearing allegations of prostitution from the public.

According to a police statement on Chinese social media platform Weibo, both Li and Chen confessed to the illegal activity.

Police also posted a close-up photo of a piano, seemingly in relation to Li’s detention, with the caption: “The world is not simply black and white, but one must distinguish between black and white. It must never be mistaken.”

Li’s full name was not published in the online post, but People’s Daily, the official newspaper of China’s Communist Party, has claimed it to be the concert pianist.

Li Yundi holds an 'Echo Klassik' award for Best Soloist Recording
Li Yundi holds an 'Echo Klassik' award for Best Soloist Recording. Picture: Alamy

Known as China’s ‘Piano Prince’, Li is one of China’s most celebrated musicians. He became the youngest pianist and first Chinese person to win first prize at the prestigious International Chopin Piano Competition in 2000.

Li recently appeared on a Chinese reality TV show, and has featured in a Toyota car commercial alongside US pop singer Taylor Swift.

China’s largest musical organisation, the Chinese Musicians’ Association, said it will revoke Li’s membership because the pianist represents an “extremely negative social impact”.

Meanwhile, users on Weibo have expressed both shock and confusion at Li’s detention.

Li has not yet responded to the allegations, which come amid China’s crackdown on the entertainment industry.