Wed, November 12, 2008
Entertainment > Celebrity

Gong Li's citizenship switch spurs China online debate

2008-11-12 13:13:37 GMT2008-11-12 21:13:37 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

Chinese movie star Gong Li smiles during a news conference about her movie "Shanghai" in Bangkok Aug. 2, 2008. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

BEIJING, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) -- News that popular Chinese movie star Gong Li has taken Singaporean citizenship has lit up online forums in China.

The 43-year-old actress, born in Liaoning Province, northeast of China, got her Singaporean citizenship certificate at a ceremony last Saturday.

A survey by Tencent.com found that while 42.4 percent of 6,580 respondents so far said they respected her personal choice and 30.3 percent said they didn't care, 27.3 percent called her move "unpatriotic."

Gong won fame in films such as "Red Sorghum" and 'Raise the Red Lantern" before making a mark in Hollywood with roles in "Memoirs of a Geisha" and "Miami Vice." She married Singaporean tobacco executive Ooi Hoe Seong in 1996.

Gong's cyber-backers said that as her husband was a Singaporean, it was quite normal for her to switch citizenship. But others disagreed, saying that her link with China was the source of her fame.

The furor drew the mainstream media's attention.

China Youth Daily, a Beijing-based mass circulation newspaper, carried a comment on Tuesday, saying that the public should not make a fuss as it was a personal freedom to change one's citizenship in a globalized world.

It said the reason for the outcry was the belief that celebrities could switch their citizenship much more easily than ordinary people, and they could enjoy the benefits and rights of their new citizenship.

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