‘Raging Fire’ star Nicholas Tse gives up Canadian citizenship for China – The Hollywood Reporter

Hong Kong actor Nicholas Tse, star of recent Chinese action blockbuster raging firesays he is renouncing his Canadian citizenship amid widespread skepticism in mainland China of local celebrities of foreign nationality.

Over the weekend, while raging fire soared to $175 million at the Chinese box office, Tse told a CCTV presenter that he was already in the process of surrendering his Canadian passport. He said he was prompted to make the decision when he noticed a comment on Chinese social media about raging fire it did [his] heart skips a beat,” because he seriously wondered if he was Canadian or Chinese.

“I was wondering, why would they say that?” he said, adding, “Whether it’s food, music or action movies, I have the will and the responsibility to spread Chinese culture around the world.”

Born in Hong Kong to actor parents Patrick Tse and Deborah Lee, Nicholas Tse moved with his family to Vancouver, Canada as a young man, later returning to Hong Kong to pursue a career in entertainment. He acquired Canadian citizenship while in the country, joining hundreds of thousands of other Hong Kong residents who hold dual passports.

Recently, controversial Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam said Hong Kong would start cracking down on the practice, which is technically prohibited by Hong Kong law. This will bring Hong Kong closer to mainland China, where citizens can only hold Chinese nationality and foreigners must renounce their original nationality if they wish to acquire a Chinese passport.

Other major Hong Kong and Chinese stars known to have foreign nationality include Gong Li and Jet Li, both Singaporeans, and director Chen Kaige, who has a US passport.

Tse’s decision comes at a time of heightened scrutiny of celebrities in China, both by officials in Beijing and the general public online. There is no ban on people of Chinese descent with foreign nationality from participating in the Chinese film industry, but these figures are increasingly under scrutiny. Disney star actress Crystal Liu Mulanewas slammed by nationalists online in 2019 for giving up her Chinese citizenship to become an American, and Best Director Oscar winner Chloe Zhao faced similar scrutiny after a former comment interview resurfaced suggesting she had a nuanced, sometimes critical, view of her home country (although she currently lives in California, she remains a Chinese citizen).

Last summer, Chinese authorities issued several new rules and policy guidelines to prevent actors accused of immoral behavior from participating in the local entertainment industry. Chinese-Canadian pop star-turned-actor Kris Wu was arrested in August on rape charges, and Chinese media have been at pains to portray him as a Canadian who had abandoned traditional Chinese values. Later that month, Chinese actress and billionaire investor Vicki Zhao Wei was taken down from the platform in China, with all of her Chinese series and social media accounts removed from the internet for unknown reasons.