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Divorce Drama: Wang Leehom and Lee Jinglei’s Wild Weibo Week

Wang Leehom’s marriage ended, and so did all of his sponsorship deals.



Wang Leehom and Lee Jinglei are dominating trending topic lists on Weibo this weekend. There has not been a bigger online drama surrounding a celebrity divorce since Wang Baoqiang and Ma Rong.

Besides Westlife’s online China concert, the divorce of Mandopop star Wang Leehom (王力宏) and Lee Jinglei (李靚蕾) was one of the major Weibo topics this week.

Wang Leehom (1976) is a popular Taiwanese-American singer and actor who has previously been dubbed the “King of Chinese Pop.” Now, it’s not his music that has gone viral on Chinese social media, but his tumultuous personal life.

On December 15, Wang announced that after eight years of marriage, he was divorcing his wife Lee Jinglei (1986) after the couple had decided to each go their separate ways. That announcement received over 100,000 comments and 3,5 million likes on Weibo, where Wang has over 67 million fans (@王力宏).

On Friday, December 17, Wang’s ex-wife published a lengthy post in which she accused Wang of wrongdoings during their marriage. Lee Jinglei has over three million fans on her Weibo account (@李靚蕾Jinglei). That post received a staggering 11,9 million likes within two days time (for reference, one of the Weibo posts with the most likes received some 19 million likes).

Lee called writing her post “one of the most difficult decisions” she ever made in her life.

In the lengthy text, Lee explains how she sacrificed a lot – including her own career – to start a family with Wang and dedicate herself to being a wife and a mother to their three children. Raising the issue of how women often face financial income inequality in marriage, Lee writes that she feels Wang treated her unfairly during their married life. She also alleges Wang had several affairs and visited prostitutes, while also being an absent father.

Wang and Lee in happier times.

Rather than a loyal husband and a loving dad, Lee paints a picture of Lee as a manipulative liar and a serial cheater.

Lee and her children.

The very next day after the post, various brands that Wang worked for as a brand spokesperson started to terminate their contracts. The hashtag “Multiple Brands Terminate Wang Leehom Contract” (#多个品牌陆续和王力宏解约#) started trending online as luxury car brand Infiniti, jewelry brand Chow Tai Seng and others announced they would no longer work with Wang Leehom.

By the weekend, the storm had not blown over at all, as Wang Leehom’s father released a handwritten letter to Taiwanese media in response to the issue. In his letter, Wang’s father defended his son’s reputation, denied any affairs, and alleged that Lee threatened Wang into marrying her in late 2013 after falling pregnant with their first child. At the time, Wang was 37 years old and Lee was a 27-year-old Columbia University graduate student.

Wang’s dad joined the drama.

In May of 2014, Wang announced that Lee Jinglei was five months pregnant and in July of that year, the two welcomed their first child.

Wang’s dad claims that he regrets approving of the marriage between his son and Lee, saying that he felt it was the right thing to do to at the time to protect Wang’s career and to ensure the wellbeing of the baby.

The hashtag “The Handwritten Letter by Wang Leehom’s Dad” (#王力宏父亲手写信#) received over 750 million views on Weibo on Sunday.

That same day, Lee Jinglei again posted a very long post in which she condemned the statement by her former father-in-law and denied all accusations that she forced Wang into marrying her. She also demanded a public apology and said she would be prepared to sue Wang and his dad for slander.

As if all of this wasn’t enough already, Wang posted another statement on Sunday night, just after 23:00, in which he shared his grievances about the endless problems and unhappiness during their marriage and apologized to his parents. That post received over 5 million likes just 90 minutes after it was posted, and nearly 400,000 comments.

Among the thousands of Weibo responses, many people say they see the divorce drama between Wang and Hong as one more reason not to get married themselves.

Many others condemn Wang and say he used Lee as a ‘breeding unit.’ The majority of people support Lee and also criticize Wang’s latest post, wondering if the blacklisted actress Zheng Shuang helped him write it.

There are also those who are shocked to see another favorite celebrity being ‘canceled’ as there have already been many people in China’s entertainment industry who have been canceled this year, including singer Kris Wu (arrested for rape charges), China’s ‘Piano Prince’ Li Yundi (prostitution case), and many more.

Some commenters also see a bright spot in all the drama, remarking that after all disagreements between Taiwanese and mainland Chinese netizens, “there’s finally one thing that the two sides of Strait can all agree about.”

Update: It seems like nobody on Weibo is sleeping tonight. On December 20th at 1:31 am, Lee posted another post responding to Wang’s latest statements. Within an hour of posting, that Weibo post also was reposted over 24,000 times and received over 640,000 likes. In this post, Lee debunks any allegations Wang made about her and their marriage, claiming she is the one to suffer mental abuse by him and also addressing other issues. 


By Manya Koetse

With contributions by Miranda Barnes.

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©2021 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at

Manya Koetse is the founder and editor-in-chief of She is a writer, public speaker, and researcher (Sinologist, MPhil) on social trends, digital developments, and new media in an ever-changing China, with a focus on Chinese society, pop culture, and gender issues. She shares her love for hotpot on Contact at, or follow on Twitter.

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China and Covid19

King of Workout Livestream: Liu Genghong Has Become an Online Hit During Shanghai Lockdown

Liu Genghong (Will Liu) is leading his best lockdown life.



With their exercise livestreams, Liu and his wife are bringing some positive vibes to Shanghai and the rest of China in Covid times, getting thousands of social media users to jump along with them.

On Friday, April 22, the hashtag “Why Has Liu Genghong Become An Online Hit” (#为什么刘畊宏突然爆火#) was top trending on Chinese social media platform Weibo.

Liu Genghong (刘畊宏, 1972), who is also known as Will Liu, is a Taiwanese singer and actor who is known for playing in dramas (Pandamen 熊貓人), films (True Legend 苏乞儿), and releasing various music albums (Rainbow Heaven 彩虹天堂). He is a devout Christian.

Besides all of his work in the entertainment business, Liu is also a fitness expert. In 2013, Liu participated in the CCTV2 weight loss programme Super Diet King (超级减肥王, aka The Biggest Loser) as a motivational coach, and later also became a fitness instructor for the Jiangsu TV show Changing My Life (减出我人生), in which he also helped overweight people to become fit. After that, more fitness programs followed, including the 2017 Challenge the Limit (全能极限王) show.

During the Covid outbreak in Shanghai, the 50-year-old Liu Genghong has unexpectedly become an online hit for livestreaming fitness routines from his home. Together with his wife Vivi Wang, he streams exercise and dance videos five days of the week via the Xiaohongshu app and Douyin.

In his livestreams, Liu and his wife appear energetic, friendly, happy and super fit. They exercise and dance to up-beat songs while explaining and showing their moves, often encouraging those participating from their own living rooms (“Yeah, very good, you’re doing well!”). Some of their livestreams attract up to 400,000 viewers tuning in at the same time.

The couple, both in lockdown at their Shanghai home, try to motivate other Shanghai residents and social media users to stay fit. Sometimes, Liu’s 66-year-old mother in law also exercises with them, along with the children.

“I’ve been exercising watching Liu and his wife for half an hour, they’re so energetic and familiar, they’ve already become my only family in Shanghai,” one Weibo user says.

“I never expected Liu Genghong to be a ‘winner’ during this Covid epidemic in Shanghai,” another person writes.

Along with Liu’s online success, there’s also a renewed interest in the Jay Chou song Herbalist’s Manual (本草纲目), which is used as a workout tune, combined with a specific dance routine. Liu is also a good friend and fitness pal to Taiwanese superstar Jay Chou.

This week, various Chinese news outlets such as Fengmian News and The Paper have reported on Liu’s sudden lockdown success. Livestreaming workout classes in general have become more popular in China since the start of Covid-19, but there reportedly has been no channel as popular as that of Liu Genghong.

The channel’s success is partly because of Liu’s fame and contagious enthusiasm, but it is also because of Vivi Wang, whose comical expressions during the workouts have also become an online hit.

While many netizens are sharing their own videos of exercizing to Liu’s videos, there are also some who warn others not to strain themselves too quickly.

“I’ve been inside for over 40 days with no exercise” one person writes: “I did one of the workouts yesterday and my heart nearly exploded.” “I feel fine just watching,” others say: “I just can’t keep up.”

Watch one of Liu’s routines via Youtube here, or here, or here.

For more articles on the Covid-19 topics on Chinese social media, check here.

By Manya Koetse

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China Celebs

Weibo Shuts Down Rumors of Tong Liya’s Alleged Marriage to CMG President Shen Haixiong

The censorship surrounding the Tong Liya story almost drew more attention than the actual rumors themselves.



The famous actress and dancer Tong Liya (佟丽娅, 1983) has had an eventful year. After hosting the CCTV Spring Festival Gala in 2020, she performed at the CCTV Spring Festival Gala in February of 2021 and in May she announced that after seven years of marriage, she finalized her divorce with actor and director Chen Sicheng (陈思诚).

Tong Liya is of Xibe ethnicity and was born in Xinjiang. The former beauty pageant and award-winning actress is known for her roles in many films and TV series, such as those in The Queens and Beijing Love Story. She also starred in the 2021 Chinese historical film 1921, which focuses on the founding of the Communist Party of China.

This month, online rumors about Tong flooded the internet, alleging that she was recently remarried to Shen Haixiong (慎海雄, 1967), the deputy minister of the Party’s Central Propaganda Department and the President of the CMG (China Media Group), which includes CCTV, China National Radio, and China Radio International.

Some of the rumors included those claiming the actress was previously Shen’s mistress, or netizens connecting Tong Liya’s relations with such an influential and powerful person to her role at the previous CCTV Spring Gala Festival.

But these rumors did not stay online for long, and the quick censorship itself became somewhat of a spectacle. As reported by China Digital Times, the topic ‘Tong Liya’s Remarriage’ (‘佟丽娅再婚’) was completely taken offline.

Following the rumors and censorship, it first was announced that Tong reported the online rumors about her to the police, with the hashtag “Tong Liya Reports the Case to Authorities” (#佟丽娅报案#) receiving over 310 million clicks. On December 23rd, the hashtag “Beijing Police is Handling Tong Liya’s Report” (#北京警方受理佟丽娅报案#) went viral online, attracting over 1.7 billion (!) views on Weibo within three days.

The Beijing Haidian police statement on Weibo is as follows:

In response to the recent rumors on the Internet, the public security authorities have accepted Tong Liya’s report, and the case is now under investigation. The internet is not a place beyond the law, and illegal acts such as starting rumors and provoking trouble will be investigated and punished according to the law.”

The statement led to some confused responses among netizens who wanted to know more about what was actually reported and what it is the police are exactly ‘investigating.’

On Twitter, Vice reporter Viola Zhou wrote that the censorship “angered many young people,” some of whom lost their social media accounts for discussing Tong Liya’s second marriage: “It’s now prompting a mass pushback against the potential abuse of censorship power.”

In an attempt to circumvent censorship, and perhaps also ridicule it, some netizens even resorted to morse code to write about Tong Liya.

One Weibo post about the issue by Legal Daily received over 3000 comments, yet none were displayed at the time of writing.

The case is allegedly still being investigated by Beijing authorities.

By Manya Koetse

With contributions by Miranda Barnes.

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. First-time commenters, please be patient – we will have to manually approve your comment before it appears.

©2021 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at

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