A newspaper has been forced to apologize after its reporters allegedly snuck into a hospital dressed as nurses to take photographs of the body of a female pop star, who’d died of breast cancer on Friday.
Three reporters from Shenzhen Evening News were reportedly taken into the Shenzhen Peking University Hospital by a doctor to take images of deceased pop star Yao Beina, aged 33, as doctors removed her corneas for transplant, The Telegraph reports.
Yao sang the theme song for the popular historical TV drama “The Back Palace: Legend of Zhen Huan,” recorded the Chinese version of the song “Let it Go” from the animated Disney movie Frozen and was a contestant on the reality talent show “The Voice of China” in 2013
Early Saturday, web user @娱乐圈揭秘 (entertainment whistlebloswer) posted to Weibo that three reporters with the newspaper slipped into the mortuary by pretending to be eye doctor Yao Xiaoming’s assistant and took photos of the dead singer without the permission of her family. By noon, the post had been forwarded over 10,000 times.
Shenzhen Evening News soon after released a statement apologizing for the photos, and announced its decision to withdraw an initiative to establish a foundation in the name of Yao Beina at her father’s request.
“We sincerely apologize for the disturbance and discomfort we have caused to Yao’s family, fans and netizens,” the paper said in its statement, according to Sina News. The paper admitted that its photographers snapped pictures of the scene as Yao had her corneas removed, but the images were deleted as soon as family members discovered what had happened.
Online, thousands of commenters condemned the newspaper, Shanghai Daily reports.
On his Weibo account, Hu Qiaohua, the “Voice of China” host, said he would no longer be reading the Shenzhen Evening News.
China Youth Daily critic Cao Lin said the paper had lost face and described its “paparazzi” approach as shameless.
Yao’s colleagues at the China’s Huayi Brothers Music Co were equally angry.
Her boss, Wang Zhonglei, described the newspaper as “very dirty” while publicity director Zhang Liang wrote: “Who allows you, the Shenzhen Evening News and the doctor Yao, to set up such a foundation? Have you ever thought of her family and friends? You two are doing a trade! It is shameful.”
Yao had undergone a mastectomy after being diagnosed with breast cancer back in 2011, but was admitted to the hospital in December after a routine check found the cancer had spread. She had campaigned for breast cancer awareness during her battle and posed for a Trends Health spread promoting breast cancer awareness back in 2013.
Yao decided to donate her corneas before her death. One of her corneas was transplanted to a 23-year-old man from Liangshan, Sichuan on Saturday evening, while the other went to a 25-year-old man in Shenzhen.