The Chinese rural lifestyle vlogger and internet celebrity Li Ziqi, known for her slow-paced, soothing videos of farming and handicrafts, is back on screen after a two-year hiatus.
On September 16, Li appeared in a short video on the official Douyin (Chinese TikTok) channel of the China Association of Young Rural Entrepreneurial Leaders. Acting as official ambassador for the Chinese Farmers’ Harvest Festival, held on the autumn equinox each year, Li said, “Seven years ago, I returned to my hometown and picked up a camera to record all the ordinary yet beautiful things in the countryside.”
“I will keep creating quality content to spread traditional Chinese farming culture and tell stories of rural China in my own unique way.” She signed off by encouraging young people to pursue rural rejuvenation as a career path, calling the countryside “vast and promising”.
This is Li Ziqi’s first appearance online since becoming embroiled in a high-profile business dispute with her agency Weinian in 2021. She reached a settlement with the agency at the end of 2022, becoming the majority stakeholder of Ziqi Culture Communication, the company that owns the intellectual property linked to her name. Li stopped publishing content throughout the process of the lawsuit and her return to content creation has been highly anticipated since news of the settlement broke nine months ago.
The topic “Li Ziqi’s first video appearance since lawsuit” shot to the number 1 spot on Weibo’s (China’s Twitter-like platform) Hot Search List shortly after the video was posted online and has gained 180 million views since then. Netizens are hopeful to see a full return for the 33-year-old vlogger soon and flooded the comments with praise for her “truly original” and “positive” content. “I’ve watched all of Li Ziqi’s videos countless times, I’m so glad she’s back at last!” wrote one fan.
Many also praised her positive contribution to China’s image abroad. “Li Ziqi’s videos are different from the gloomy China seen in the films of [Fifth Generation directors] Zhang Yimou and Jia Zhangke, and also different from the ignorant China written about in Mo Yan’s novels. What Li Ziqi shows is a civilized, peaceful, and poetic China,” wrote one Weibo user on Sunday.
Besides her adoring fans in China, Li Ziqi has a huge overseas following totalling 17 million subscribers on YouTube– the most ever for a Chinese YouTuber.