TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Actress Gong Li (鞏俐) appears to be in the process of renouncing her Singaporean citizenship amid a blacklist designed to punish Chinese celebrities who obtained a foreign passport.
In late August, the name and likeness of Chinese actress Zhao Wei (趙薇, Vicky Zhao) were suddenly scrubbed from Chinese online streaming sites and social media pages. In early September, rumors began to swirl on Chinese social media that seven famous Chinese actors with foreign citizenship had been placed on a “reorganization list” by the National Radio and Television Administration.
The list allegedly at first included Nicholas Tse (謝霆鋒), Jet Li (李連傑), Zhang Tielin (張鐵林), Crystal Liu Yifei (劉亦菲), Will Pan (潘瑋柏), Wang Lee Hom (王力宏), and Mark Chao (趙又廷). Li has Singaporean citizenship; Zhang is a British citizen; Liu, Pan, and Wang have American citizenship; and Chao and Tse have Canadian citizenship.
On Friday, SET News reported that Gong too is said to be renouncing her Singapore citizenship after her name was added to the rumored blacklist. Rumors that a "nationality restriction order" has been handed down to Chinese celebrities spread rapidly on Chinese social media.
Some Chinese netizens cynically felt that she was only changing her citizenship due to pressure from the government, with comments such as "You used to ignore it, but now you can't afford it" and "You obtained foreign citizenship to enter Hollywood, now that you're washed up, you come back."
Many others on China's heavily censored social media platforms praised her for being "patriotic" and asked her to "just come home." Singaporeans chastised Gong for simply using the country as a "stepping stone" while contributing nothing to the nation, according to The Straits Times.
In 1996, Gong married Singaporean tycoon Ooi Hoe Seong (黃和祥) and obtained citizenship in 2008. At the time, she faced scathing criticism from Chinese fans for "forgetting her ancestors."
Gong responded by saying, "It is natural to change one's citizenship because of family relations. I didn't think much about it. We are all descendants of the Yellow Emperor."
However, she divorced Ooi one year later, did not try to reapply for Chinese citizenship and has reportedly used her Singaporean passport since. She was later quoted as saying that the renunciation of Chinese citizenship was a personal choice and at the time she "did not understand anything, let alone what 'nationality' means" and emphasized that there was "no need to explain too much to others," per Mirror Media.
The same year that she divorced Ooi, she married French electronic musician Jean-Michel Jarre and moved to France, where she continues to reside. Gong is best known for her roles in "Red Sorghum," "Raise the Red Lantern," "Farewell My Concubine," and "To Live."