Two artists who have a large fan base in China have announced that they will be giving up their existing nationality to become Chinese citizens amid an expanding cleansing of celebrity culture by the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Hong Kong-born action film actor Nicholas Tse told state broadcaster CCTV on Sunday He said he was about to give up his Canadian citizenship amid rumors that a number of famous names in China are under pressure to do the same.
In a video clip from the CCTV6 show The Blue Feather Lounge, Tse, who has dual citizenship since his parents moved to Vancouver in 1987, can be seen saying he feels “responsible” about Chinese culture all over the world Spread the world.
“I was born in Hong Kong so I am originally Chinese,” he said. “I actually started the application process to give up my Canadian citizenship.”
Rumors have been circulating on Chinese social media platforms since last week that the State Radio, Film and Television Administration (SARFT) listed seven top celebrities, including Tse, who are foreign nationals but born in Hong Kong or China.
According to unconfirmed reports, the list also includes Jet Li, Zhang Tielin, Crystal Liu, Will Pan, Wang Lee Hom, and Mark Chao.
An officer who answered the phone at SARFT Monday urged RFA to search “the relevant laws and regulations” online, but at the time there were no rules on celebrity nationalities visible on its official website.
Taking action against celebrity culture
Now a singer, actress and broadcaster Maria Cordero, known as Fat Mama, said she would likely renounce her Portuguese citizenship as well.
“If you really want to work in mainland China, this is it,” Cordero told RFA. “If you work there, you should become a Chinese citizen. I have no problem with that.”
She said she knew from reports that Tse is giving up his Canadian citizenship.
“I think they will all do this one at a time,” said Cordero. “Unless they decide they don’t want to make that much money anymore.”
Tse’s move comes amid an increasing fight against celebrity culture under CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping, with a series of new regulations out of Beijing in recent weeks targeting “recalcitrant” fan behavior, “sissy” male stars, and warnings that celebrities who ‘Failure to take a proper stance on China will no longer be welcome in its increasingly state-controlled markets.
The SARFT recently banned stars with “wrong political positions”, unethical behavior and “feminine” masculine styles from TV shows and movies after a series of scandals of sexual assault, tax evasion and behavior classified as “unpatriotic” by the CCP.
Artists who are “alienated from the CCP and China” were among the categories prohibited from appearing in films and television programs, along with those who “violate social justice standards” or “violate public order and ethics “.
The government also banned TV talent shows associated with the use of social media to encourage fans to spend money to improve the ratings of their favorite candidates.
The SARFT also proposes “feminine” masculine styles as well as shows revolving around scandals, ostentatious wealth and “vulgar” internet celebrities. It warned broadcasters to focus on building “positive energy” instead.
Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.