Chinese top idol Wang Yuan acts in patriotic stage play, wins back people’s hearts following smoking incident

Source: Global Times Published: 2020/12/16 22:28:31

Wang Yuan Photo: IC

 Wang Yuan (Roy Wang), a popular Chinese teen icon who still has more than 80 million fans on China’s Twitter-like Sina Weibo despite a previous smoking scandal, made his stage play debut on Saturday in The National Anthem. In the play, Wang plays Nie Er, the well-respected Chinese music composer who produced China’s national anthem “March of the Volunteers.” 

Performed during Saturday’s episode of China Media Group’s cultural TV program China in Story, the play focuses on pioneering musician Nie Er and tells the off-screen story about how “March of Volunteers” was created during the 1930s when China was at a critical moment. 

Besides Wang, actor Wang Luoyong played Tian Han, the lyric writer of “March of Volunteers.” 

After the performance, Wang reflected on the play, suggesting his patriotic emotions. 

“I hope to use this work to remind us about the unforgettable memory behind the birth of the national anthem, pay tribute to the enthusiastic cultural workers and pay tribute to our great country,” Wang posted on Sina Weibo. 

His post quickly earned nearly 100,000 responses on Sina Weibo, with many netizens showing him their respect and appreciation. 

“Remembering our national spirit, the play gives me goose bumps. I now see [Wang’s] potential,” a netizen posted on Sina Weibo. 

Wang hasn’t always received such positive comments online. In May, Wang found himself massively criticized by netizens after he was caught on camera puffing on a cigarette inside a pricy restaurant in violation of local anti-smoking laws. 

He quickly apologized for the incident, claiming that he was deeply regretful of his choice and was sorry for any potential bad social influence he created and that he hoped the public could forgive him. Looking at the nearly 500,000 likes his patriotic play has received seems to indicate he has gotten his wish. 

“He is a huge influencer to young people, a great icon. The smoking incident did a certain degree of ‘damage’ to his previous image. Participating in such a program helps correct his image, letting the public know that he has more potential. It was a good thing,” Shi Wenxue, a cultural critic, told the Global Times on Wednesday, explaining why Wang has won applause for the stage play. 

Wang is not the only young idol to actively join in producing cultural programs that focus on introducing the depth of Chinese culture and history. Their participation has been acknowledged as it is hoped they can influence young Chinese to focus more on the nation’s culture. 

“The participation of popular young idols on such programs is a win-win situation for the star as well as the program. It can establish a positive image for the idols and is an invitation for them to enter the mainstream media, like the China Media Group. For the program, it receives more views,” Said Shi. 

Also, he pointed out that “the two sides working together is a good thing for the revival of the nation’s traditional culture”. 


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