Netizens disappointed with media reaction after Faye Wong’s divorce announcement

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 September, 2013, 7:46pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 September, 2013, 7:48pm

Many Chinese internet users are angry about the way the mainland media reacted following the announcement last Friday that singer Faye Wong divorced her second husband, Li Yapeng.

The divorce announcement generated enormous interest in China, but also a sparked some tasteless headlines and comments in sections of the mainland media.

Some papers treated the news frivolously. “Faye Wong divorces, Arsenal F.C. one step closer to take the crown,” a headline in the Oriental Sports Daily said - as if suggesting a link between the performance of England Premier League’s football club and Wong’s marital status.

“Arsenal F.C. last crowned the Premier League in 2004, but came short a year later - around the same time when Faye Wong married Li Yapeng…Arsenal has not won the league’s champion ever since,” the article said. “It seems the club is finally on the right track after her divorce.”

The Chengdu Business Daily reported that Wong’s two marriages, in 1996 and 2005, had also coincided with rises, during those years, in Shanghai’s stock market.

“Do you wonder when the next bull market is? Let’s look forward to Wong’s next marriage to find out,” the report said.

Some netizens also said they disapproved of media reports exploiting the singer’s marital problems just to get attention. Some called the reports shallow and insensitive.

“How can you relate a celebrity’s private life to serious matters such as the stock market,” said one comment on internet news portal

Another, responding to rumours that Wong might become a nun, said: “So will there be no bull market ever again if she does not marry in future?”

But it was behaviour of journalists working for one of China’s top news portals, Tencent, which angered netizens the most. The news portal’s journalists admitted blocking Wong’s car when she was returning from the airport. They did not move their car until they had snapped photographs of Wong “with tears in her eyes”.

The Tencent journalists’ tactics were widely condemned as “abusive reporting”. Many noted that such aggressive tactics could be dangerous, recalling the ways photographers had pursued Diana, Princess of Wales, before her fatal car crash in Paris on August 31, 1997,

Tencent’s entertainment news division issued an apology on its official microblog account on Saturday. It admitted it had been wrong to “intercept and excessively photograph” Wong.

Chen Qifeng, a communications professor at Tsinghua University’s journalism school, told the Xinhua news service that stricter privacy laws were needed to protect celebrities.