In the hustle and bustle of modern-day life, finding tranquility and simplicity is like stumbling upon a rare gem. That gem for many, including myself, has been the soothing world encapsulated in the vlogs of Li Ziqi, a prominent Chinese internet personality. Through her lens, she graciously invites us into her serene countryside existence, where traditional Chinese culture blooms in its full glory. Every video is a poetic journey back to the roots, where the rustic charm of rural China intertwines with the age-old traditions that have been the country’s backbone for centuries. The calm pace of her videos, coupled with the exquisite visuals of China’s rural landscape and the deeply rooted tradition in each frame, is a balm to the modern soul, offering a piece of serenity amidst our chaotic routines.

Li Ziqi’s authentic portrayal of Chinese culture has resonated with hearts globally, amassing a massive following that transcends borders. Her videos are not merely a viewing experience; they are a voyage into a world where simplicity and tradition reign supreme. However, the rhythm of this soothing narrative experienced a sudden pause when the steady stream of videos from Li Ziqi’s channel came to an abrupt halt. The void left in her digital presence was palpable, with fans from every corner of the globe yearning for their slice of peace and wondering about the sudden silence from the countryside haven.

The cease in uploads wasn’t just a pause in a digital narrative, but a break in a global heartbeat that beat in sync with the calm and steady pace of Li Ziqi’s world. The curiosity soon turned into concern among her global community, with many fearing that the serene world they had grown to adore had faced a turbulent turn. The silence on the other end left a lingering question – what happened to the tranquil countryside that had become a global sanctuary? The narrative of tranquility seemed to have hit a turbulent patch, leaving a global family awaiting the return of serenity, the return of Li Ziqi.

The Silence Before The Storm

The digital landscape that Li Ziqi so intricately crafted with each upload stood still, the silence resonating across her channels. The once regularly updated serene countryside narrative came to a standstill, creating a void that seemed to echo across the global community that closely followed her journeys. Each day of inactivity on her channels felt like a long pause, a break in a comforting melody that had become a routine respite for many.

With the absence of any new content, the digital grapevine started buzzing with speculations. The serene world Li Ziqi created seemed to be holding its breath, and along with it, so did the multitude of hearts that found solace in her depiction of a simple life amidst nature. Concern over Li Ziqi’s well-being started to tiptoe around the comforting bubble she had created. The global family that had formed around her narrative found themselves amidst a whirlpool of questions. The sudden silence was uncharacteristic of the otherwise consistent content creator, leading to a blend of concern and curiosity among her followers.

Social media platforms became the ground for public speculation and well-wishes. Rumors mingled with genuine concern, creating a cloud of uncertainty that hovered over the reason behind the sudden halt in the flow of serene vlogs. Was it a personal crisis, or perhaps a technical glitch? Or was there something more to the story? The concern was not just for the content, but for the creator who had touched lives by sharing glimpses of a life led close to nature and tradition.

The speculation phase was akin to a silent storm, brewing with the emotions and concerns of a global audience yearning for a sign of assurance, a note of continuation in the harmonious melody that Li Ziqi orchestrated with her vlogs. The silence was indeed loud, filled with unsaid words and unexpressed emotions, awaiting the calm that always followed the storm in Li Ziqi’s world. Amidst the storm of speculation, the hope for a grand return shimmered like a persistent flame, echoing the collective wish for the return of the tranquility that Li Ziqi’s vlogs embodied.

The Battle Behind The Scenes

Behind the peaceful scenery showcased in Li Ziqi’s vlogs lay a turbulent battle unbeknownst to many. Li Ziqi found herself embroiled in a legal tussle with Hangzhou Weini Brand Management Co. Ltd., which managed her content under an MCN (Multi-Channel Network) arrangement. The core of the disagreement revolved around brand ownership and revenue sharing, which became a roadblock in Li Ziqi’s creative journey.

In July 2021, following the release of her last video in the “柴米油盐酱醋茶” series, Li Ziqi went on a hiatus. The silence was broken a month later when Li Ziqi voiced her grievances on Weibo, bringing to light the discord between her and the MCN company, Weini. Post her video’s success, the earnings from products branded under “李子柒” and the related Taobao store revenues were claimed by Weini, while Li Ziqi was left to rely solely on video dividend income. The legal wrangle finally came to a close at the end of 2022, with both parties reaching a settlement in court. By this point, Li Ziqi’s channels had been inactive for over 500 days. The lawsuit saw Li Ziqi regaining her brand “李子柒,” with key changes in the shareholding structure of Sichuan Ziqi Cultural Communication Co., Ltd., significantly reducing Weini’s stake from 51% to 1% and elevating Li Ziqi’s share to 99%, making her the actual controller of the company. However, this legal victory didn’t immediately translate into a resumption of her video production, leaving the public puzzled and awaiting her grand comeback1.

The Courtroom Conclusion

The legal skirmish between Li Ziqi and Hangzhou Weini Brand Management Co. Ltd., finally saw a resolution in December 2022, a saga that spanned for over a year and a half. The courtroom conclusion came as a ray of hope amidst the turbulent times, marking a new chapter in Li Ziqi’s journey.

The settlement was facilitated through court mediation, bringing an amicable end to the dispute that had kept Li Ziqi away from her digital abode for so long. This legal conclusion was more than just a paperwork resolution; it was a doorway to regaining the essence of what Li Ziqi had initially set out to create. The settlement enabled Li Ziqi to reclaim control over her brand “李子柒,” a name that had become synonymous with the serene and authentic portrayal of Chinese countryside life. The significant change in the ownership structure of Sichuan Ziqi Cultural Communication Co., Ltd., as a result of the settlement, was a testament to Li Ziqi’s regained control. With Weini’s stake plummeting from 51% to a mere 1%, and Li Ziqi’s share soaring to 99%, the scales had tipped in favor of the rightful owner​1​.

This legal resolution was not just a victory for Li Ziqi, but also for the legions of fans who had been awaiting her return to the digital realm. It reinstated the hope of witnessing more serene journeys through the Chinese countryside, showcasing the rich cultural tapestry that China has to offer. The courtroom conclusion was a beam of light cutting through a long, dark tunnel, heralding the grand return of Li Ziqi and the peaceful narrative that had touched hearts globally.

The Triumphant Return

The sun emerged from behind the clouds as Li Ziqi made her much-anticipated return to the digital realm. Her re-entry was not through a resplendent sunrise over the lush Chinese countryside or the serene sounds of nature that many had grown accustomed to, but through a humble and heartfelt video message.

On September 18, 2023, after stopping updates for two years, Li Ziqi uploaded her latest video.

The video saw a modest Li Ziqi, dressed in a white short-sleeved T-shirt paired with black trousers, standing poised, her demeanor exuding a blend of grace and determination that resonated with every frame.

With a soft yet firm tone, Li Ziqi reminisced about her journey that began seven years ago when she returned to her hometown, camera in hand, ready to explore and exhibit the quiet and beautiful everyday life of rural China. Her narrative had always been simple yet profound, a tribute to the serene, pastoral life far removed from the hustle of urban landscapes.

The essence of her message was clear, a reaffirmation of her commitment to continue sharing quality content that celebrated the elegance of rural Chinese culture. “In the future, I will continue to persist in my own way, bringing more quality content,” she stated, a simple sentence that carried with it a world of resolve and a defiance against the adversities she had faced.

Her title during this return was notably different; she appeared as a representative of the “China Rural Youth Entrepreneurship Leader Association” and a promoter for the “China Farmers Harvest Festival”. This new title was a testament to her expanded role, not just as a digital content creator, but as a promoter and preserver of Chinese rural culture.

The video soared to the top of trending lists shortly after its release, an evident indicator of the warm reception from her loyal following. The comments section was abuzz with heartfelt messages of “Long time no see”, “Welcome back”, and “Looking forward to new video updates”. The digital community was once again abuzz with the soothing, authentic narrative that Li Ziqi brought to the table.

Her return was not just a personal triumph, but a celebration of the enduring appeal of authentic content that delved into the simplistic yet rich tapestry of traditional life. It was a reaffirmation of the fact that genuine storytelling, rooted in reality and laced with the charm of tradition, held a special place in the hearts of viewers, transcending the fleeting trends of the digital world.

Li Ziqi’s return was welcomed with open arms by her global audience, the same audience that had continued to cherish her old content during her hiatus, patiently waiting for the day the countryside poet would return to narrate the simplistic elegance of rural life once again.

The hopes for future content are high, and the excitement is palpable. With a renewed vigor and a steadfast resolve, Li Ziqi is back, ready to explore and exhibit the unexplored narratives of rural China. Her journey continues, and so does the global audience’s love for the tranquil narrative that Li Ziqi has mastered over the years. The story of traditional Chinese culture continues to unfold, with Li Ziqi at the helm, steering the narrative towards uncharted yet beautiful horizons2.

  1. 2年后,李子柒回来了,但江湖变了_腾讯新闻 ( ↩︎
  2. 消失793天,李子柒江湖地位还在吗?_澎湃号·湃客_澎湃新闻-The Paper ↩︎