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Wang Leehom faces permanent ban in China over divorce scandal

Hu says Wang's 'luxurious presence in Chinese performing arts market is basically over'

Wang Leehom returning to Taiwan from China on Dec. 18. 

Wang Leehom returning to Taiwan from China on Dec. 18.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Amid a war of words between Taiwanese-American crooner Wang Leehom (王力宏) and his ex-wife Lee Jinglei (李靚蕾) over the weekend, Chinese state-run media is calling for Wang's permanent ban from the communist country.

After a heated online exchange over their acrimonious divorce over the weekend, Wang issued an official statement on his Weibo account at noon Monday apologizing for his transgressions during the marriage. In the statement, he announced that he would temporarily halt his work in the entertainment industry to take more time to spend with his family.

Amid the tsunami of scandalous accusations from Lee over Wang's alleged improprieties, Chinese state-operated mouthpiece the Global Times wrote on its Weibo account Monday that his temporary hiatus is not enough and that "unscrupulous artists must be frozen out." It claimed that entertainers are frequently "having rollovers" because they stepped over legal and moral boundaries, which makes the public think the industry has become a "black hole of social morality."

It stated that when these celebrities are exposed for unethical or even illegal acts, there are still some diehard fans who try to justify their actions. "If this deformity is not corrected, more young people who could have a healthy and bright life may be led astray," wrote the government-owned tabloid.

This is not the first time a representative of the organization has commented on Wang's divorce. On Saturday (Dec. 18), former Editor-in-Chief Hu Xijin (胡錫進) pointed out on Weibo that Wang's largest market is China, "so the attitude of Chinese netizens is key." He asserted that without evidence to refute Lee's allegations, "his luxurious presence in the Chinese performing arts market is basically over."

However, some Chinese netizens questioned whether state-run media was simply taking advantage of the situation for propaganda purposes and pointed out that Jackie Chan had faced a scandal for having an affair that led to the birth of his daughter out of wedlock and that his son Jaycee Chan had been imprisoned for possession and distribution of marijuana. Despite these incidents, both have been able to continue to work in the entertainment industry in China.

In recent years, the Chinese Communist Party has been cracking down on celebrities who step out of line and on the culture of celebrity worship as part of Chinese Chairman Xi Jinping's (習近平) "common prosperity" campaign.

Updated : 2022-05-22 14:56 GMT+08:00