Wang Shi, the 62-year-old Chinese real estate tycoon who founded China Vanke, the largest real estate company in China, has posted a photo of himself and his girlfriend, 32-year-old actress Tian Pu-jun, having breakfast tea in Cambridge, England, on his Wechat social media account, countering rumours of the couple’s break-up.
Over the past two weeks, rumours that the one-year controversial relationship was over have been spreading throughout the internet in China after a Weibo account affiliated with the arts director of the TV programme China’s Got Talent claimed the couple had split up.
Wang and Tian’s photo was later republished by Thinker, a China Citic Press online magazine, which received the photo from an anonymous source.
Thinker’s microblog also posted a message saying that Wang would continue to study Jewish history and culture in Cambridge until the end of the year.
In the picture, Tian holds a phone in one hand with news of the supposed break-up displayed on its screen, while her other hand gives the thumbs-up sign, which has been interpreted to mean that all is good with the couple and a denial of the recent break-up gossip.
Wang captioned the photo with a simple sentence “Good morning! Cambridge!” And Tian commented on the post with smiley faces.
Wang also posted a message on his Weibo account on Monday, saying "In this era of rumours, you get shot by gossip whatever you do."
A day before the picture was published, Tian also uploaded a photo to her Weibo account showing her holding a red apple. Sharp-eyed netizens spotted a ring on her ring finger. The caption was simply a loud laughing cartoon icon.
When Wang, a People's Liberation Army veteran, divorced his wife of over 40 years and started dating the young actress last year, the Chinese internet community was shocked.
Tian, who described herself as “rebellious”, “rigid”, “competitive” and “disobedient” in an interview with a Beijing newspaper, started her acting career in Hong Kong in 2003 with Director Wong Jing’s movie The Spy Dad.