Beijing singer breaks news of Hong Kong 'divorce' from son of revolutionary hero

Actress and social icon Zhao Xinyu announced via Weibo on Wednesday her divorce in Hong Kong from Ye Xuanlian, son of the late revolutionary hero Marshal Ye Jianying

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 02 January, 2014, 1:42pm
UPDATED : Friday, 03 January, 2014, 11:10am

Zhao Xinyu,a Beijing socialite and singer known for her lavish and controversial lifestyle, announced on Weibo on Thursday morning that she had officially divorced Ye Xuanlian, son of late Marshal Ye Jianying, one of China's most revered founding fathers.

"On December 31, 2013, I applied to divorce Mr Ye Xuanlian in Hong Kong. A 24-year-old marriage ended. I received 6 million yuan from Ye," read her post. Zhao was born in 1969, according to Chinese media.

But her announcement seemed to have generated more questions than answers. Many on social media said they were surprised since, following years of rumours, Zhao confirmed on Weibo less than a month ago that she was married to Ye. Zhao is mother to Ye's only son, Ye Zhaoyang, according to the rumours.

Ye's former wife, Susan So, died in 2012, according to Chinese media reports. The married couple seemed to have resided in Hong Kong prior to So's death. Ye is known to be a member of the Communist Party but seemed to have spent most of his time running businesses in Hong Kong, according to the Chinese business website It is not clear if Ye is a Hong Kong resident.

In December, Zhao confronted a microblogger who questioned her relationship with Ye by replying: "My husband is Ye Xuanlian".

Zhao also posted a family photo of herself, Ye, and a young boy who appeared to be their son. "Thank you for caring about me, my friends, I am happy," she wrote.

Many speculated that, based on her posts, Zhao and Ye had finally tied the knot some time after Ye's wife passed away. This was never confirmed.

Yet the son Zhao bore seemed to have been accepted by Ye's wife So and their children. When Ye's daughter, Ye Mingzi, got married in Beijing in 2009, Ye Zhaoyang appeared in a couple of the wedding photos, standing next to Ye Xuanlian, So, and Ye Mingzi. 

Over the years, the "mysterious" relationship has drawn a lot of attention and interest from online users.

Among other things, bloggers questioned how Ye Xuanlian was able to get away with having a mistress and son without being punished by the authorities.

Others wondered if the marriage between Zhao and Ye was indeed legal as the image of two certificates she posted on Wednesday on Weibo seemed to indicate.

"Isn't it illegal to be married with two women at the same time?," many asked.

Zhao, outspoken and sometimes defiant, has often fallen victim to verbal attacks on Weibo, yet she has always fiercely defended her lifestyle and her decisions.

An active party goer who claimed to be close with celebrities such as singer Faye Wong and author Hong Huang, Zhao has been frequently featured in the news. In 2009, she was accused of being the mastermind behind an attack on an image of actress Zhang Ziyi. A group of thugs, after shouting obscenities outside Zhang's Beijing home, destroyed a huge poster of her by pouring black ink over it.

Zhao later denied she was involved in the attack.

Zhao didn't respond to an inquiry sent by the Post on Thursday. Yet on Thursday afternoon, she posted a message that seemed to have offered an explanation for the divorce.

"There is nothing to be surprised about," read her post, "Someone from the entertainment business with a child has broken into my home, and it's too crowded for me."

"Is this karma?," commented many in response.

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