Weibo explodes over news of actor’s divorce

By Zhou Jiaxin Source:Global Times Published: 2016/8/15 0:13:39 Last Updated: 2016/8/15 6:50:34

3 billion views for celebrity breakup reflect marriage insecurity: experts


A Chinese actor's statement on his divorce from his wife over her extramarital affair landed like a bombshell on social media on Sunday, receiving nearly 1.7 million comments from Net users, a phenomenon that experts said reflects growing insecurity about marriage in China.

Actor Wang Baoqiang released an announcement on his Sina Weibo account in the early hours of Sunday morning that he is ending his marriage to Ma Rong after she had an affair with his manager, Song Zhe. Wang said Ma and Song's relationship brought grievous harm to their marriage and family, forcing him to divorce Ma and fire Song.

Ma released a post on the heels of Wang's, implying that it was Wang who had abandoned their family and friends.

Wang began to gain fame after his appearance in Feng Xiaogang's 2004 film A World Without Thieves, where he played a naive village boy carrying his life savings home with him on a train. He has since starred in several successful  films, including Lost in Thailand and Monk Comes Down the Mountain.

Wang and Ma were married in 2009 and have a daughter and a son. The two have publicly demonstrated their affection for each other on several  occasions.

Wang's statement and the later twists in the case rapidly attracted public attention. Web pages marked with the hashtag "Wang Baoqiang's divorce" had received more than 3 billion views and 6.73 million comments on Sina Weibo as of press time.

Statistics released by Sina Weibo showed that 47 percent of Net users' posts condemned Ma for her extramarital affair, saying it had shattered the family, while some said their faith in marriage has faded after a string of celebrity divorces.

Celebrities' marriage crises have long been in the limelight and have become a heated topic of public debate, Li Yinhe, a marriage expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Sunday. Li noted that people's lifestyles have also changed significantly, contributing to the  country's growing divorce rate.

A total of 3.84 million couples in China divorced in 2015, an increase of 5.6 percent over 2014, according to statistics released by the Ministry of Civil Affairs in July.

Divorce is fairly easy in China, since the marriage law enacted in the 1950s allows either party in a marriage to appeal for divorce if he or she believes his or her spouse has been unfaithful, even without any evidence, Li said.

Zhai Zhenwu, dean of the School of Sociology and Population Studies at Renmin University of China, told the China News Agency that the growing diversification and openness of the social environment in China has also decreased the stigma of divorce.



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