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Monday, 20 May, 2002, 11:48 GMT 12:48 UK
Taiwan 'boy band' rocks China
F4 members
The four-man F4 shot to fame via a soap opera

A concert organised to wish China's football team good luck in the World Cup finals has been called off at the last minute, reportedly because of fears of hysteria among fans of a Taiwanese boy band due to play at the event.

The group, F4, have attracted a mass following in China over the past few months, despite the banning by the Chinese Government of the TV series which made their name.

About F4
Four actors plucked from obscurity
Now famous thanks to Taiwan soap opera Meteor Garden
Ages range from 21 to 25
Fan sites call youngest member, Vic Zhou, 21, "shy and sensitive"
When F4 appeared at a Shanghai shopping centre at the weekend, an estimated 10,000 fans, mostly girls between the ages of 12 and 16, queued for up to 15 hours to see them.

Local media described screaming fans fainting during the band's appearance, which ended after 10 minutes when security guards warned of potential pandemonium.

It may be the nearest to Beatle mania China has ever seen.

No official explanation has been given for the sudden cancellation of the concert in which F4 were due to play the next day, after a football match involving the Chinese national team.

But organisers said police were worried they might not be able to control the behaviour of F4's fans.

Asian sensation

The band, made up of four previously unknown actors, have provoked hysteria across Asia since starring in the Taiwanese TV series, Meteor Garden, in which they play the disaffected student sons of four of Taiwan's richest families.

Chinese football fans
The concert was set for after a football match
A number of local Chinese TV stations bought the programme, but it was banned after just six episodes.

Parents denounced the story as "electronic heroin". complaining that the main characters spent all their time chasing girls and no time on their studies.

But, with the help of satellite TV and China's fast-growing entertainment press, F4's popularity has only increased.

Albums, t-shirts and pirate videos of the TV series and its follow up have sold out across the country.

Observers say the case reflects the growing impact of youth trends from across Asia on China's urban teenagers.

The TV series was based on a Japanese comic strip, and Japanese and Korean singers have become increasingly popular in China over the past few years.

See also:

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