People loved Li Ziqi because they believed that she, unlike her viewers, is free from the hyper-productive, capital-fueled, politically fraught world that they wake up to every morning. They believed that she was independent and beholden to no one. But behind the camera, Li Ziqi is just another player in the platform economy — on one hand, entangled in the profit-making machine of the short-video industry and, on the other, bound to the shifting rhetoric of Party politics — very much unfree, trapped within the same “real-world problems” that have ensnared the rest of us.