Some 18 days after she was effectively cancelled on the internet in China, Chinese movie star Vicki Zhao made a momentary return to social media on Sep. 12.
Her return has sparked even more speculation as anyone wiped off the Internet has been declared persona non grata.
What happened initially
On Aug. 26, fans noticed the removal of Zhao's name, Zhao Wei, from the credits of TV shows and movies, while some of her fellow colleagues had unfollowed her and deleted mentions of Zhao on their social media.
Without an official reason for her disappearance, those online could only speculate about what was going on behind the scenes.
Zhao's return to the online space was almost unremarkable as she was detected to have come back, owing to a short comment left on Queena Li's Weibo post, wishing the Chinese director a "happy birthday".
Li was one of the directors of the 2020 series "Hear Her", which was produced by Zhao.
While the comment was left on Sep. 12, Li's birthday was on Aug. 29, the day she made the Weibo post.
There was an outpouring of support from fans who were glad to hear from Zhao again, indicating that she was safe and well.
Other netizens felt that it was improper for Zhao to have left a comment on Li's post as a way of testing the waters.
However, the birthday message left by Zhao can no longer be found on Li's post.
While Zhao might have removed the comment, some believe that Li might have done so to distance herself from Zhao.
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Top images via Vicki Zhao/Weibo.