China’s biggest social media platform Sina Weibo has been playing an important role as the marriage crisis between Chinese film star Wang Baoqiang (王宝强) and his wife Ma Rong (马蓉) unfolded over the past few days. The crisis became the number one trending topic on Weibo on August 14 when Wang published a message on his official Weibo account that he is divorcing his wife Ma Rong and firing his agent Song Zhe (宋喆), as he could “not tolerate” their secret affair that was “harming family life”.
In his statement, Wang described himself as a loving and selfless father who would always put his children first. Wang and Ma have had two children since they got married in 2009.
Wang Baoqiang and his lawyer visited Beijing’s Chaoyang court yesterday to file the official divorce papers.
On August 16, the topic “Wang Baoqiang’s Divorce” (#王宝强离婚#) again became Weibo’s number one trending topic when news came out of Wang’s wife Ma Rong suing her estranged husband for defamation of character, demanding that Wang deletes his public statement and apologizes to her.
Earlier, Ma Rong also responded to her husband’s allegations about her having a secret affair with his agent, blaming him for abandoning his friends and family, and later writing on her Weibo account: “Trying to hide would only make matters worse, the good and the evil each have their truth. Karma will have its turn in due time, if not now.”
Chinese social media seem to play a crucial role in the Wang & Ma marriage crisis, as Ma has now also publicly shared a copy of the legal papers of her lawsuit on her Weibo account.
Ma’s post, that was published in the morning of August 16, received over 1.5 million comments and was nearly shared a million times by the afternoon.
The great majority of Weibo netizens side with Wang Baoqiang, calling Ma Rong a ‘slut’, a ‘cheat’ or a ‘gold digger’. One popular Weibo comment by a young male netizen even says: “Let me tell you – even if Wang Baoqiang would keep a mistress, visit prostitutes or have another wife, we would still be on his side! No matter how wronged you feel, we won’t sympathize! You’re a piece of trash!”
This comment and the many of its sort show that there is a double standard in the existing public opinion, where the women often get blamed for extramarital affairs – no matter if they are the wife or the mistress. The men, on the other side, are often perceived as guiltless.
The recent stream of videos that show wives beating up their husband’s mistresses in broad daylight reveal how, even if it is the husband cheating, the females are held responsible. Netizens are generally quick to blame the wife who has been cheated, saying that she apparently “did not take good care of her husband” or otherwise he would not have had an affair. In the case of Wang Baoqiang and Ma Rong, however, there are virtually no netizens claiming that Ma had her alleged affair because Wang was “not taking good care of his wife”.
Wang Baoqiang has not responded (yet) to his wife’s lawsuit on his Weibo account today. By sharing his personal statement with his 2.4 million followers earlier this week, he has done enough to bring the crisis between him and the mother of his children out in the open for all of China to see. What else would a good, selfless, and protecting father do?
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