Wang Baoqiang王宝强; born 29 May 1984) is a Chinese actor. His debut role was that of Yuan Fengming in the movie Blind Shaft, for which he shared the Best New Performer prize at the 2003 Golden Horse Awards with Megan Zheng.The same role also won him the Best Actor prize at the 2003 Deauville Asian Film Festival and 2004 Golden Kinnaree Award (Bangkok International Film Festival).

Wang Baoqiang married Ma Rong on 10 February 2010. They have two children. On 14 August 2016, Wang made a post to Sina Weibo announcing he would divorce Ma. He accused her of entering an extramarital affair with his agent, Song Zhe, and transferring/concealing some of the couple’s assets. In a later Sina Weibo post, Ma said Wang had abandoned their family, and threatened to sue him for defamation; she filed a case against Wang on August 16.The divorce became a trending topic on Sina Weibo, where posts with the hashtag #WangBaoQiangDivorce were viewed over five billion times. Mu Zheng of the National University of Singapore suggested the split conformed to the perception that Chinese couples had to be “evenly matched” for marriages to succeed.

Divorce of celebrities sparks talk about state of modern marriage in China

The story most talked about on the Chinese mainland this week doesn’t deal with politics, the economy or the Rio Olympics, but the divorce of a leading actor.

On his microblog on Saturday, Wang Baoqiang, a migrant worker-turned actor, accused his wife Ma Rong of having an affair with his agent Song Zhe, and vowed to divorce her. Ma hit back at Wang afterwards, saying he had infringed upon her reputation.

The attention given to Wang’s claim far exceeds the usual amount given to celebrity break-ups. The hashtag #WangBaoQiangDivorce on Weibo has been viewed more than 7.9 billion times. Even the financial channel of China Central Television got into the saga, inviting experts to talk about how assets might be split after the divorce.

Cao Sanxing, a professor at the Communication University of China, said it was to be expected that Wang’s divorce drew the public. “It’s normal that people are interested in stars’ personal life,” Cao said.

But discussion among mainlanders has gone beyond gossip of cheating to how fragile marriage can be in modern Chinese society. About 3.84 million couples reportedly divorced last year.

Some people have commented that marriages can be vulnerable if the partners are not matched in status, appearance and education.

Wang, 32, was born into a poor rural family in Hebei province and received limited schooling. He learned martial arts at age six, and went on to play roles as extras in films before rising to fame in director Feng Xiaogang’s movie A World Without Thieves in 2004 starring Hong Kong’s Andy Lau Tak-wah.

He met Ma in 2007, when he was already famous and they married two years later. Unlike Wang, Ma went to university, studying broadcasting at the Xian-based Northwest University, where she was dubbed a beauty.

“Wang was not highly educated, while Ma studied university,” posted one blogger hosted on Sina.com. “The differences in the cultural level mean they do not have a common language in their relationship.”

Ma said on her microblog on Sunday that “the more one tries to hide, the more one is exposed”. She also hinted she would release evidence damaging to Wang when the time was right.

Zhan Jiang, a professor at the School of International Journalism and Communication of Beijing Foreign Studies University, said the public attention paid to Wang’s divorce story was related to “the government’s control over the media”.

“Besides [politically sensitive news], the Olympics is being held in Brazil, too far away from China and the Chinese athletes’ performance is not that good,” Zhan said. “So there is no big news at the moment.”

 South China Morning Post

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