Which Chinese celebrities renounced their native citizenships? Liu Yifei, star of Disney’s Mulan, is a naturalised American while Jet Li gave his Chinese passport up

Seven Chinese celebrities who don’t have Chinese citizenship, including Liu Yifei, Kris Wu, Gong Li and Jet Li. Photos: 刘亦菲/Weibo; @kriswu, @officialgongli, @jetli/Instagram

Over the past few weeks, the citizenship status of ethnically Chinese stars with foreign passports has come under the spotlight across Chinese media in the midst of the country’s crackdown on the entertainment industry.

Some actors such as Nicholas Tse and Arthur Chen Feiyu were quick to reveal that they have renounced – or are in the process of renouncing – their foreign citizenships.

How Tony Leung, Shang-Chi star and Hong Kong legend, spends his millions

But which Chinese celebrities still hold foreign passports? Here’s a list of ethnically Chinese stars who lack – or turned down – Chinese citizenships.

Liu Yifei

Liu Yifei is widely known as “Fairy Sister” in China. Photo: 刘亦菲/Weibo

Chinese-American actress Liu Yifei moved to the US with her mother at the age of 10, becoming a naturalised American citizen. Liu only holds American citizenship as under Chinese law, dual nationality is not recognised.

Chinese-American actress Liu Yifei starred as Mulan in the Disney’s live action remake. Photo: Stephen Tilley/Disney Enterprise
The Mulan star still visits China, though; she was spotted recently going shopping in a commercial centre in Beijing with her assistant.

Gong Li

Gong Li starred in Memoirs of a Geisha. Photo: @the_eye_and_the_image/Instagram
Actress Gong Li, who has starred in several Hollywood films, infuriated her Chinese fan base when she became a Singaporean citizen after her marriage to her first husband, Singaporean business magnate Ooi Hoe Seong. Angry bloggers said she was “betraying her Chinese roots by changing nationality”, according to The Irish Times.
Gong Li shared behind the scenes photos of herself on the set of The Monkey King 2. Photo: @officialgongli/Instagram

In an interview broadcasted on Dragon TV in 2009, Gong stood firmly behind her decision.

“It’s my own choice and I think that’s why there’s no need for an instant and high-profile explanation for the public,” said Gong, according to

Shang-Chi’s Fala Chen on Marvel, motherhood and leading an Asian-majority cast

Jet Li

Jet Li is regarded as one of the best martial artists in the film industry. Photo: @jetli/Instagram
Born in Beijing, Jet Li is known for his roles in Hollywood blockbusters such as The Expendables, Lethal Weapon 4 and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, to name a few.

The action star has changed his citizenship several times over the years, from Chinese to American and now to Singaporean. Recently a Chinese director claimed that Li could be blacklisted by Beijing for holding foreign citizenship, according to Newsweek.

Jet Li in a still from Romeo Must Die (2000). Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures

Li’s role as the emperor of China in Disney’s Mulan in 2020 marked his return to acting after a four-year hiatus.

Chen Kaige

Director Chen Kaige attends The Deuce and The Legend Of The Demon Cat premieres in Toronto, Canada in September 2017. Photo: Getty Images/AFP

As one of the most prominent Chinese-born directors, Chen Kaige graduated from the renowned Beijing Film Academy in 1982 and achieved worldwide success, revolutionising Chinese filmography with his mesmerising use of visuals and great storytelling. Nonetheless, his talent did not make the Chinese public forget that he is not a Chinese citizen.

Chen Kaige and his son Arthur Chen Feiyu. Photo: 圈内摸鱼/Weibo

Chen holds an American passport. One of his most critically-acclaimed films, Farewell My Concubine, was initially banned in China in 1993, but a censored version of the film was later released in theatres. His son, actor Arthur Chen Feiyu who also attended the prestigious Beijing Film Academy, recently dropped his American passport for Chinese citizenship.

From fast car hound to family man? What Nicholas Tse splurges on, then and now

Kris Wu Yifan

Chinese-Canadian pop star Kris Wu is a former member of South Korean-Chinese boy band Exo. Photo: Weibo
When Chinese-Canadian pop star Kris Wu’s rape accusations shocked China’s entertainment industry, the spotlight hit squarely on his Canadian citizenship. Similar to Liu Yifei, he migrated with his mother to Canada at the age of 10 and became a Canadian citizen.
Singer Kris Wu performs on stage during a gala held by Hunan Television and at Changsha International Convention and Exhibition Center. Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images

The singer, who is among China’s most influential celebrities, was arrested and charged with rape earlier in August. Wu lost his deals with major brands, including Louis Vuitton, Bulgari, L’Oreal Men and Porsche. He was also removed from Chinese social media.

Vivian Wu

Vivian Wu made her return to Hollywood productions after 25 years in Netflix’s Away. Photo: @vivianwu/Instagram

Born in Shanghai, talented actress Vivian Wu started her acting career as a teenager, winning acclaim for her roles in numerous Chinese TV shows. She rose to international superstardom after portraying Wenxiu in the Oscar-winning movie The Last Emperor. After that, she appeared in several Hollywood films.

Vivian Wu’s big break was in the 1987 film The Last Emperor. Photo: @vivianwu/Instagram

Following her marriage to the Cuban-American director and producer Oscar Luis Costo, Wu obtained her American passport. However, in an interview with China Daily, she said, “I knew that in my heart I would always be Chinese.”

Gender-neutral fashion? Today, Chinese men want women’s clothes

Shawn Dou

Shawn Dou’s parents emigrated to Canada when he was 10. Photo: 芳F-L/Weibo

Actor Shawn Dou is originally from Xi’an. He became a Canadian citizen when he moved to Canada with his parents at the age of 10, and attended elementary and secondary schools there.

Shawn Dou in Princess Agents. Photo: @shawndou_oficial/Instagram

He returned to China in 2008 to attend the Beijing Film Academy, according to China Daily. Throughout his career, he has won several international awards and also recognition from Chinese audiences.

Want more stories like this? Sign up here. Follow STYLE on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.
  • Kris Wu, a former member of K-pop idol group Exo, and actor Shawn Dou are Canadian citizens while Gong Li used to be married to Singaporean tycoon Ooi Hoe Seong
  • Bafta award-winning director Chen Kaige holds an American passport, though his son Arthur Chen Feiyu recently dropped his foreign US citizenship