Less than 2 weeks ago, during the Shanghai International Film Festival, Zhang Ziyi was blamed for being "unpatriotic" and this added to her already negative image within China.
If you read my blog entry on Yao Ming's Wedding, you probably remember that I said that most internationally known Chinese citizens are treated as national prides. But Zhang Ziyi is one exception.
(Read more about Zhang Ziyi on Wikipedia
After browsing a couple of Chinese forums I concluded that the general Chinese public hates her for the following two reasons:
- She became successful too early too soon
- She is deemed a bad national representative
Apparently, Zhang did not "work her way up" to reach her current status. People seem to think that her success was more due to her luck than her acting skills. On the other hand, people like Yao Ming, Liu Xiang or even Gong Li, really worked their butts off to get where they are today. So they deserve respect from the people, but Zhang doesn't.
Secondly, she does not "earn face" for China, on the other hand, she "loses face" quite often. Speaking broken English at MTV awards, playing a Japanese hooker in "Memoir of a Geisha" (this is especially bad) and now dating a non-Chinese man, all of which make the Chinese people angry. People are saying that her absence at the Shanghai Film Festival "implies that she thinks the Shanghai Film Festival is not as important as the other ones, such as Cannes, which she went to", and this, needless to say, is extremely unpatriotic and a big no-no.
To sum it up, based on Zhang's sad example, if you want to become a Chinese national pride, you must:
- Work very very hard, the Chinese people prefer success that is based on a blend of sweat and tears (and preferably blood, too)
- Make the people proud. Make sure your English is so good that you can talk to foreigners with ease. Even better if you can make witty remarks (instead of the foreigners making fun of you).
- Only play roles that lift the image of China/Chinese culture/Chinese people. Specifically, don't touch anything to do with the Japanese, or you are a piece of dead meat.
- Only date your fellow country men/women.
- Be openly patriotic. Attend and support absolutely all functions you are invited to in China, even at the risk of losing your Hollywood career because you have to ask the directors/producers for unpaid leaves on a regular basis.