Hong Kong celebs renounce foreign citizenship amid China’s fan culture crackdown, patriotism push

Society & Culture

As Chinese regulators take aim at tax avoidance, toxic fans, and “incorrect” political views among celebrities, some with dual nationalities are renouncing their foreign citizenship.

Canadian Hong Kong actor Nicholas Tse
Canadian Hong Kong actor Nicholas Tse (謝霆鋒 Xiè Tíngfēng). Image from Oriental Image via Reuters Connect.

As Beijing continues its regulatory onslaught against Chinese internet companies, Chinese officials are also taking aim at perceived excesses in the entertainment industry.

Perhaps sensing the growing scrutiny, two Hong Kong celebrities have recently announced that they will be renouncing their overseas passports, Radio Free Asia reports: Hong Kong-born action star Nicholas Tse (謝霆鋒 Xiè Tíngfēng), who grew up in Canada, and Macau-born TV host Maria Cordero (瑪俐亞 Mǎ Lìyà), who grew up in Hong Kong, said recently that they would give up their foreign citizenships of Canada and Portugal, respectively.

Cordero added in comments to RFA:

“If you really want to get work in mainland China, then it’s the right thing to do…If you work there, you should take Chinese citizenship. I have no problem with that”…

“I think [celebrities with dual citizenship] are all going to be doing this, one after another,” Cordero said. “Unless they decide that they don’t want to make that kind of money any more.”

On Chinese social media Weibo, reacting to Tse’s announcement in a CCTV interview (in Chinese) that he was renouncing his Canadian citizenship, most commenters welcomed his decision. Several popular comments noted that his family moved to Vancouver when he was young, so being a dual national was not his choice.

  • At the same time, a minority of commenters responded cynically to Tse, quipping that it was only after 40 years of stardom that he “remembered” he was Chinese, or implying that he made the decision for no other reason than to continue making money.

More on scrutiny of celebrities in China:

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