Why a Hong Kong star renounces his Canadian citizenship

Hong Kong celebrity Nicholas Tse

Nicholas Tse says he’s renouncing his Canadian citizenship, as Chinese pop stars come under fire for holding foreign passports. Photo: Li Buluan/Imaginechina via AP

Hong Kong star Nicholas Tse has announced he is renouncing his Canadian citizenship, as rising nationalism and a government crackdown on the entertainment industry fuel criticism of Chinese pop stars who hold citizenships foreign.

Tse, a singer-actor and celebrity chef, told Chinese state broadcaster CCTV he felt uncomfortable seeing comments calling him Canadian after his recent action movie. raging fire became a hit in China.

“I was born in Hong Kong, so I’ve always been a Chinese person,” the 41-year-old said on the show that aired on Sunday. “Actually, I’m in the process of applying to renounce my Canadian citizenship.”

Tse moved to Canada with his family when he was eight, but his entertainment career took off in Hong Kong, where he released hit songs and starred in award-winning films. In recent years, he has won legions of young fans in mainland China by appearing as a judge on the talent show voice of china and accommodation of the gastronomic travel diary Chef Nique.

“No matter if it’s food, music or action movies, I indeed feel that I have the will and the responsibility to bring these great things of our homeland to the world,” he said. he said in the CCTV interview.

China does not recognize dual nationality. In the former British colony of Hong Kong, many people have multiple nationalities, although the government has said those born in the city would be treated as Chinese nationals.

In mainland China, many wealthy people, including pop stars, have also obtained foreign citizenship for themselves or their children, giving them the opportunity to live, study or invest in companies. developed with greater civil liberties. With nationalism on the rise, famous emigrants who take advantage of the Chinese market would have to toe the Communist Party line or risk being ostracized.

In recent months, the government has stepped up a crackdown on what it sees as “chaos” in the entertainment industry, such as the perceived moral decadence of pop stars and their excessively high earnings. Celebrities have had their online presence erased after being accused of sexual abuse, tax evasion or simply expressing political views unacceptable to the Chinese government.

Although no rules on the nationality of pop stars have been made public, some celebrities have renounced their foreign nationality or publicly declared their Chinese nationality to demonstrate their political loyalty.

Chen Feiyu, actor and son of famed director Chen Kaige, sparked controversy when he starred in a highly anticipated drama adapted from a boys’ romance novel. In July, Chen said he renounced his US citizenship and became a Chinese national. His studio said in a statement that Chen has always loved China and would contribute to the “great motherland”.

The drama Chen starred in does not yet have a release date. The Communist Party’s propaganda service this month criticized the boys’ love dramas, despite its subtletyfor allegedly deceive chinese youthsignaling his tightened control over gender.

Netizens have compiled lists of other celebrities suspected of having foreign nationalities, including Mulane star Liu Yifei, martial arts actor Jet Li and Taiwanese-American singer Leehom Wang. “Mulan is a Chinese national heroine. How come an American plays it? said a recent comment on microblogging site Weibo.

The stars who have decided to give up their foreign passports have been hailed by commentators online. Following Tse’s announcement, netizens speculated that more celebrities would follow suit as China grew more powerful.

But not everyone is convinced or satisfied. Some commentators have said that Tse should have given up his Canadian citizenship earlier if he truly loved China.

In Tse’s hometown of Hong Kong, where Beijing repression of the pro-democracy movement fueled discontent over the growing influence of the Communist Party, his decision drew a wave of ridicule from pro-democracy supporters. Many people even accused Tse of kowtowing to the party in order to make money in mainland China.

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