A Xinjiang-based live-streamer – who was wrongly accused of faking his videos – has been awarded with a government job for helping local farmers sell dozens of tonnes of produce. Liu Yuanjie, 25, has been made a member of Yuli county’s political advisory body after consumers across the country snapped up local produce via his live-streaming sessions as he rose to fame accidentally this summer. Often shooting his videos outdoors, the man suddenly became popular in July last year after viewers began to suspect the background in his productions was simulated. For many, the stunning backdrop of his streams featuring beautiful scenery seemed incongruous with his rough and ready appearance. Liu tried numerous times to prove his footage was real, including throwing a bucket into a stream behind him and running into the water to get it back, winning himself the online moniker “Background is Too Fake Brother”. As head of the bee industry association of Yuli, he managed to sell 50 tonnes of honey and 30 tonnes of black goji berries from local farmers within two months using the influence he had built up thanks to his live streams, Liu told Shangyou News. In the past year alone, he has sold 10 million yuan (US$1.46 million) worth of farm produce online. On January 5, Liu announced on Douyin – the Chinese version of TikTok – that he had been made a county government political adviser as a result of his success in promoting local agriculture and tourism. He now has more than 3.6 million followers on the social media platform. “I hope the future will be better and more farm produce from Xinjiang will be sold to more places by my efforts,” he said in his latest video. Liu started his live-stream commerce endeavour after his first visit to Xinjiang in 2020, during which he was attracted by the locally produced balsam pears. He sold 30 tonnes of the fruit that year, before shifting to honey and other produce from 2021. In order to show that all the produce he promotes is naturally grown, Liu always live streams in the open air, showing the beauty of Xinjiang’s rivers, mountains and grassland. The humorous manner in which he refuted online suspicions that he was using fake backgrounds was what finally launched him into online stardom. “That tree doesn’t seem to be real unless you can pull it out,” one user joked under one of his most popular videos on Douyin. “Don’t forget where you started. Be your true self. Sometimes we make fun of you because we all really like you,” another said.