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China’s Most-Discussed Love Triangle: Wang Baoqiang, Ma Rong and Song Zhe

The separation between actor Wang Baoqiang and his estranged wife Ma Rong – due to a love affair with Wang’s manager Song Zhe – is a never-ending story.

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It is a story that just keeps trending on Weibo; the separation between actor Wang Baoqiang and his estranged wife Ma Rong due to an illicit love affair with Wang’s manager Song Zhe. With Ma allegedly regretting the split and Song having been arrested for embezzlement, many netizens say that “justice has been served.”

It was the divorce of the decade. The 2016 split between Chinese movie star Wang Baoqiang and his wife Ma Rong, the mother of his two children, made big news in China after Wang himself exposed that his estranged wife had a secret love affair with his agent Song Zhe (宋喆).

The story unfolded itself on Weibo, as the public posts and comments by both Wang Baoqiang and Ma Rong sparked intense debate. The majority of Weibo’s netizens sided with Wang Baoqiang, saying that Ma Rong only married him for his money.

Wang and Ma in happier times.

The celebrity couple break-up especially drew wide attention because of the general perception many Chinese people have of Wang. Born and raised in a poor family in rural China, Wang fought his way to the top of China’s movie industry, becoming a well-known and respected actor. Rather than seeing him as a successful millionaire, many see the ‘Chinese dream’ in him.

The general support for Wang also means that the majority of Chinese netizens like to see Ma Rong and ex-manager Song Zhe punished for what they did.

Song Zhe Arrested

A year after the initial separation, it seems that the Wang vs Ma divorce drama just has no end to it. On September 12th, Wang’s former agent Song Zhe was arrested in Beijing for embezzlement – a topic that immediately became trending on Chinese social media under the hashtag ‘Song Zhe Arrested’ (#宋喆被抓#).

The direct cause of his arrest is the police report filed by Wang Baoqiang’s studio “Strong Baby” (强宝贝), which accused Song Zhe of abusing his position as studio manager during a four-year period from 2012 to 2016. Song allegedly took money that clients paid for use of the studio for personal use.

After an investigation, Chaoyang police arrested Song Zhe on charges of embezzlement. The case is still ongoing and no further information on court dates have been released.

The majority of Weibo’s netizens, in support of Wang Baoqiang, are celebrating the news of Song Zhe’s arrest. One post, which received over 200,000 likes, said: “This news makes me feel so good! The cheating guy is in prison, when is that sl**t Ma Rong going to be arrested?”

Refusing divorce

Adding to the recent dramatic developments is an exclusive report by Tencent Entertainment News, which states that during Wang Baoqiang and Ma Rong’s second court date regarding their divorce, Ma Rong refuse to sign the divorce papers. During this court hearing, Ma reportedly claimed that she is still in love with Wang Baoqiang, and therefore does not want to divorce.

“Shameless,” “She is only in love with his money,” and “This is the funniest joke of the year, is she crazy?”, typical Weibo comments said.

Despite Ma’s refusal to sign, however, experts say that the marriage can be annulled on the grounds that it is ‘damaged beyond repair.’

What goes around, comes around

While Song Zhe is awaiting his trial in jail, Ma Rong has been restricted to leave the country. According to recent reports, Ma previously attempted to emigrate to Australia using her wealth to obtain a visa through illegal means.

For most people on Weibo, the current messiness in both Songs’s and Ma’s private lives is an issue of ‘what goes around, comes around.’

Under Chinese law, there is no punishment for being the cheater, lover or mistress in a divorce case. However, many say that in its own way, “justice has been served.”

“They deserve what is coming to them,” some said.

By Miranda Barnes & Richard Barnes

©2017 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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Richard Barnes is a blogger, part time translator, and China-based musician. Born in London, he moved to Beijing where he now lives with his with his wife Miranda Zhou Barnes. On abearandapig.com they will share news of their upcoming year-long trip around Australasia, East & Central Asia and the Indian Subcontinent.

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    October 5, 2017 at 4:38 am

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China Arts & Entertainment

Mixing Chinese Opera With Pop Music, Jason Zhang Becomes a Social Media Hit

A classic Chinese opera song has become a viral hit.

Susanna Sun

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A song that mixes pop and rap with traditional Yue opera has become a viral hit on Chinese social media. Despite the praise for the song, some people say pop and opera should not be mixed.

In the second episode of Battle For the Heavenly Voice, Dragon TV’s new music contest show featuring celebrity singers, pop singer Jason Zhang (张杰) recently took the Internet by storm.

Zhang performed a rearranged Chinese Yue opera piece titled “Sister Lin Fallen From Heaven” (天上掉下林妹妹), mixing elements of pop, rock, and rap music with traditional Chinese opera.

Jason Zhang, also known as Zhang Jie (张杰), is a Chinese mainland pop singer. In 2007, Zhang rose to fame after taking fourth place on Hunan Channel’s singing competition show Super Boy.

His popularity has increased over the past two years: having made it into the final round of I Am a Singer, Zhang is widely recognized in China as a talented singer with a hard-working, down-to-earth attitude.

Earlier this week, Jason’s pop music rendition of the famous opera song debuted on the new music show and went viral almost immediately. The hashtag ‘Zhang Jie Sister Lin Fallen From Heaven” (#张杰天上掉下个林妹妹#) has thus far received more than 170 million views on Weibo.

The hashtag page’s introduces the song as “a blend of traditional Chinese opera, rock, and R&B music, full of originality and freshness, showing the young singer’s willingness to preserve our traditional culture as a responsibility.”

Check the video here:

Yue opera (越剧), one of the five main types of traditional folk opera in China, is characterized by its lyricism and prized particularly for its intimate portrayal of emotion. “Sister Lin Fallen From Heaven” originally is a duet song from Yue opera’s adaptation of thee Dream of the Red Mansion, one of China’s Four Great Classical Novels.

‘Dream of Red Mansion’ special opera cinema, 1962.

The song is sung at the beginning of the story, when protagonists Jia Baoyu and Lin Daiyu first meet. They both have the same strange feeling that they have been close friends for a long time and have met again after a long separation. Using an emotional melody, the duet shows the affection Baoyu and Lin Daiyu feel in such a lyrical way that it has become the most well-known song representing Yue opera.

 

“A disgrace to the art of Yue opera.”

 

Yue opera mostly uses Wu dialect in singing and speech. The Wu dialect’s vowels and consonants are quite different from standard Mandarin. Zhang, not a native speaker of Wu dialect, memorized the standard Yue opera pronunciations of lyrics with both alphabet combinations and Mandarin word substitutes.

The version of the song as performed in this 1962 special opera cinema with leading actress Xu Yulan:

Given its courageous mixing of music styles, “Sister Lin Fallen from Heaven” has been praised as extraordinary, with netizens applauding Zhang for his experimentation. On Weibo, there are many positive comments, such as: “I appreciate your act of promoting Chinese opera culture so much. Hope there will be more surprises like this in the future.”

However, a few passionate Yue opera lovers did not seem to approve of Zhang’s Yue opera singing: “His Yue opera singing is so unprofessional. It doesn’t sound like Yue opera at all. His song is a disgrace to the art of Yue opera.”

A netizen named Kou Li Dao has one of the most upvoted comments under the video:

Some will praise Jason Zhang for singing a Chinese opera song, and some will criticize him for not ‘respecting’ our traditional folk music. Indeed, Zhang did not sing Yue opera in the most ‘orthodox’ way, but he is showing his efforts to introduce and spread Chinese opera culture to the younger generations in his audience. We should all embrace his act of integrating Chinese traditional with contemporary music, because only by constantly experimenting with new styles of modern music, Yue opera will not remain an isolated art – it will be an ever-developing art.

By Susanna Sun

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us.

©2017 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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China Arts & Entertainment

Video of Chinese Football Celebrity Causing Havoc on Cancelled Flight

A video of a violent altercation between footballer Li Lei and local police on an Air China aircraft is going viral on WeChat and Weibo.

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A video showing how a famous Chinese footballer is forcefully dragged off an aircraft in Hainan together with his wife is going viral on Chinese social media.

A video has emerged on Chinese social media on October 26 of a Beijing football celebrity and his wife forcefully being taken off an Air China flight.

The incident, which reportedly took place on October 5, occurred when flight CA1356 from Hainan got canceled due to bad weather conditions after passengers had already been waiting on the plane for five hours.

After the announcement, some angered passengers, including Li Lei and his wife, refused to get off the plane. Police were called on the aircraft when the couple got into a dispute with flight attendants. According to the flight attendant, the footballer allegedly threw a bottle of hot water on the ground.

The video shows how Li Lei gets into a violent altercation with local police. When he refuses to comply with them, both he and his wife are forcefully taken off the aircraft. Li Lei can be heard screaming: “You would all lose your head over this” (“你们一个个都要掉脑袋”).

Li Lei (李磊, 1992) is a well-known Chinese footballer who plays as a midfielder for Beijing Guoan of the Chinese Super League.

Lawyer Zhang Qihuai (@张起淮) was amongst the first persons on social media to expose the story. It is not clear why the story, which occurred three weeks ago, only surfaced on social media now.

The video has stirred commotion on social media, where some people question the police’s actions for resorting to violence: “The police only acts based upon what he knows from the flight attendant. They do not even question the passenger,” some say.

But there are also many who condemn the footballer for causing unrest on the plane: “Nobody wants a plane to be delayed, but there’s no reason to bully the flight attendents and to throw things around.”

“We don’t know what exactly happened, but I just know Li Lei is a good man – he was just trying to protect his wife,” one commenter says.

Air China has responded to the controversy on October 27, saying that it is the police’s duty to take passengers off the aircraft when they refuse to do so.

By Miranda Barnes and Manya Koetse

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us.

©2017 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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What’s on Weibo provides social, cultural & historical insights into an ever-changing China. What’s on Weibo sheds light on China’s digital media landscape and brings the story behind the hashtag. This independent news site is managed by sinologist Manya Koetse. Contact info@whatsonweibo.com. ©2014-2017

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