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Media & Entertainment

China's livestream king resurfaces after mystery disappearance

Austin Li's low-key return to Alibaba's Taobao tests government reaction

Li is known as the "Lipstick King" for selling 15,000 lipstick tubes in five minutes on Taobao.   © Getty Images

HONG KONG -- China's top online sales host Li Jiaqi suddenly reappeared on Alibaba Group Holding's key e-commerce platform Tuesday night after the influencer vanished from public view on the eve of the Tiananmen Square crackdown anniversary.

His livestream sales show on Taobao was abruptly cut off three months ago after Li, also known by his English name Austin, and an assistant presented an ice cream and cookie cake shaped like a tank. That stirred rumors that it was linked to the bloody June 1989 crackdown when troops and tanks poured into Beijing's biggest public square and shot pro-democracy protesters.

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