What’s trending on Weibo, China’s Twitter?
Is it the latest crackdown of President Xi’s anti-corruption campaign, which seized 90 billion yuan (US $14.5 billion) from the family and associates of former security chief Zhou Yongkong? The flexing of President Putin’s muscles over Ukraine and Crimea instead of a hapless trout or wayward horse? The two-week long protest over a trade pact across the Strait in Taiwan? The still-missing Malaysia Airlines plane?
Sex wins out over money and politics: Weibo blew up with actor Wen Zhang’s long apology over his affair with Yao Di, his costar in 2011′s popular drama 裸婚时代 (Naked Marriage). Wen is married to actress Ma Yili, his co-star from a 2007 drama (奋斗/Struggle); the couple have one daughter, and Ma is currently expecting their second child.
Wen’s apology reads, in part, “I have brought this upon myself. A mistake is a mistake… This has nothing to do with anyone else. Today, I am willing to accept all the consequences. I’ve let down Ma Yili and our children. My mistake does not deserve to be forgiven, and it will be difficult for me to make amends for all the harm I’ve caused. But I want to do it. I have to do it. This is what I’ll do for the rest of my life.”
In response, Ma wrote, “Being in love is easy; being married is not. It is to be cherished.”
A “naked marriage” concerns a modern practice in China: couples who wed and eschew the traditions that precede and follow that status: no ring, no ceremony, no honeymoon, no house, no car. (The latter two involve the usual exchange of gifts between the families and for the benefit of the newly married couple.)
The couple that Wen and Yao play in the drama, by the way, do not last.
From last week’s public “conscious uncoupling” announcement of Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin’s separation to Wen’s most-retweeted apology, what new trend are we seeing?