Chinese Regime Turns Its Back on Former Star After Singer’s Public Divorce

By Nicole Hao
Nicole Hao
Nicole Hao
Nicole Hao is a Washington-based reporter focused on China-related topics. Before joining the Epoch Media Group in July 2009, she worked as a global product manager for a railway business in Paris, France.
December 23, 2021 Updated: December 23, 2021

The Chinese regime has criticized an American-Taiwanese pop singer days after his divorce and said that it won’t allow him to return to any mainland Chinese stage in the future.

On Dec. 19, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) posted on its website that it will, “Strictly prevent unethical celebrities from going back to stage and participating in any form of art.”

Days earlier, the singer was still considered a “patriotic” artist by the Chinese regime, active in its propaganda movies, programs, and spectaculars. But on Dec. 19, Wang Leehom made a public apology to his family and fans after a very public dispute with his Japan-born ex-wife Lee Jinglei after announcing their 2019 divorce on Dec. 15.

“It is my fault for not managing my marriage properly, causing trouble to my family, and not living up to my image as an idol,” Wang wrote in Chinese, while accusing Lee of blackmail and threats. “This is all my fault.”

The dispute, much of which has been on social media, was triggered by a letter from Wang’s father, alleging that Lee, as Wang’s girlfriend, had threatened to ruin his son’s career when she became pregnant in 2013. On Dec. 17, Lee followed with her own letter, posted to social media, accusing Wang of neglect, infidelity, and hiring prostitutes during the marriage.

Epoch Times Photo
Wang Leehom, a Taiwanese-American singer, record producer, actor, and film director, attends the annual Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, with his Japan-born wife Lee Jinglei on July 8, 2016. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Wang denied the accusations, and said that he will take a break from performing and continue to provide financial support for his ex-wife and children.

A Burgeoning Disaster

Wang, 45, had the image of being a well-educated man who loved and took care of his family, prioritizing the parenting of his children, and spoiling his wife. He has also been one of the CCP’s favorite singers for the past two and a half decades.

Despite being a U.S.-born Taiwanese, Wang was most active in mainland China and sung lots of propaganda songs to promote the communist regime as a “patriot,” which were broadcasted on state-run TV channels.

“In this country (China), flowers bloom after being watered by fresh blood. I won’t leave because of one promise—to pay you (the regime) back is my only wish,” Wang sang in a 2019 propaganda song to celebrate the regime’s 70th anniversary. The regime tells the Chinese people that CCP members and soldiers spilt their blood to fight for and construct the country, leading to China’s current prosperity.

He was also appointed by the regime as the tourist ambassador of eastern China’s Hangzhou City.

Epoch Times Photo
U.S.-born Taiwanese singer Wang Leehom receives the Most Popular Golden Song Collaboration With Vocals, Most Popular Rock Golden Song, Most Popular Singer Of Downloaded Songs Awards during the 2008 China Mobile Wireless Music Awards in Beijing, China, on Dec. 28, 2008. (China Photos/Getty Images)

On Dec. 18, Chinese media started to criticize Wang. On Chinese social media platforms, Wang’s scandal became a top trending topic, with many laying blame for the divorce at his feet. Hu Xijin, commentator for the state-run tabloid Global Times, emphasized on the Chinese social media platform Weibo that Wang is Taiwanese, not Chinese.

As of Dec. 20, his name and voice were scrubbed from state-run China Central Television’s rebroadcast of a historical TV series, “The Decisive Victory,” in which Wang sung a duet with singer Tan Weiwei. The edited song now just plays as Tan’s solo, with Wang’s name also blurred out from the credits.

Wang was born in Rochester, New York, in 1976. He is the second son of three to Taiwanese parents. Wang and Lee have three children.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Nicole Hao
Nicole Hao is a Washington-based reporter focused on China-related topics. Before joining the Epoch Media Group in July 2009, she worked as a global product manager for a railway business in Paris, France.