From being a sought-after celebrity to persona non grata, actress Zheng Shuang’s career saw a huge reversal this week after a series of scandals pertaining to her involvement in surrogacy (still considered illegal in China) and subsequent abandonment of her two children rocked the c-ent industry.
Earlier, her ex-boyfriend Zhang Heng revealed the two children’s existence which he says is the reason why he had to remain in the US indefinitely because he had to take care of them. Since dropping that bombshell, the entire story has quickly taken a life of its own as new “evidence” continue to pile up against the actress while they continue to engage in their “he said she said” battle.
First, there were the two leaked birth certificates that show Zheng Shuang’s name listed as the mother. Then, more damning recordings surfaced of discussions which allegedly took place between Zheng Shuang and Zhang Heng’s families talking about what will happen to the two kids after their break up.
“Give the Children Away”
In a recording released by Zhang Heng’s friend, the woman presumed to be Zheng Shuang and her parents can be heard saying to give the children away since the relationship has already gone sour. “It will satisfy the regrets of families who can’t have children. At the very least, the mistake can reduce the pressure on the other party, because we are doing a good thing.” Later, Zheng Shuang can also be heard saying “Auntie, at the moment you don’t have to worry about anything, if we still have feelings for each other in the future, we can still have children. There are still fertilised eggs that haven’t been used which we saved.”
In a second recording released, a crying woman (presumed to be Zheng Shuang) can be heard saying “No, at the time, I was like that because I didn’t want him to say “myself and Zheng Shuang’s child”, I didn’t want him to want the children, so I finally forced his hand a bit. I said “then you pay for it then. I asked him “how much money do you have?” I went about it that way because I know it’s a difficult point for him” in response to what the man presumed to be Zhang Heng’s dad said “and then she asked him “how much?” which shows just what kind of person she is”.
Zheng Shuang Says Her Ex-Boyfriend Cheated on Her
After the two recordings were leaked, Zheng Shuang initially posted what is essentially a (non) response to the allegations of her abandoning the kids and the issue of surrogacy on her Weibo page, saying that no laws in either China or the US were broken and that she was being extorted for money in exchange for keeping her privacy. Later however, after people were left confused by what she didn’t say, the actress made another series of posts in her defence.
She said that after learning Zhang Heng cheated on her, she was quite distraught and just wanted to resolve the issues between the two of them calmly. Afterwards, Zhang Heng’s parents went to have a chat with her parents to apologise. Zheng Shuang said the product of that discussion was the recording that was leaked and said the full version should be six hours long. “What parent won’t be distressed for their daughter? My parents only hoped that I can stop crying and fall asleep quickly. That night, my parents accompanied me. My dad said “it’s okay, if it’s money he wants, just give it to him. It’s not important. If you’ve thought it out already, don’t waste any more time on it.” Prior to this, it’s been widely reported that Zheng Shuang and Zhang Heng have been caught in an ongoing legal battle due to financial disputes since their breakup in 2019.
Zheng Shuang’s Dad Responds to the Backlash
Meanwhile, Zheng Shuang’s dad Zheng Chenghua also had choice words to say about Zhang Heng and his family. He says that everything was completely taken out of context and that Zhang Heng’s family is “so bad, sinister and cunning, what a scumbag, his entire family is scum! They’re willing to do anything unscrupulous just for money. Despicable!” Moreover, Zheng Chenghua also claims they were the ones who shouldered all the expenses for starting up a company. As to the 20 million RMB he says was loaned to Zhang Heng personally, that amount has not yet been paid back.
With regards to his two grandkids, Zheng Chenghua says they “have never given up. We are responsible for these two children.”
[UPDATE] In a recent interview, Zheng Shuang’s father apologised. He explains that the words that can be heard in the recording were said in the heat of the moment and didn’t represent how they really felt. Furthermore, he said that they had intended to take responsibility for the children. Zheng Shuang and her mother also gave similar interviews. They revealed emails from December 2019 (two months after the recorded conversation took place) showing their concern about getting child custody even before the children were born. They also showed a document indicating that Zheng Shuang filed a petition for child custody on August 21, 2020.
Facing the Music: Blacklisted and Reprimanded
China’s National Radio and Television Administration has officially put Zheng Shuang on their blacklist, saying that her illegal actions involving surrogacy and her subsequent abandonment of her children violates public morals. “We will not provide opportunities and platforms for those who have committed scandals to speak out and show their faces. As always, we will resolutely provide healthy progressive on-screen programs for the broad masses of people.”
Aside from being put on the NRTA blacklist which could spell the end of her career, Zheng Shuang also got a stern warning from State TV network CCTV News for her actions. Likewise, a similarly worded reprimand was also issued yesterday by the ethics committee of the China Television Artists Association (CTAA) stressing the importance of artistes setting a good example for the public by consciously “adhering to professional ethics, promoting family virtues, and promoting good customs.”
As of today, the responses that Zheng Shuang and her family made on social media have already been deleted.
Since the scandal, many brands previously associated with Zheng Shuang have now cut ties with her. Luxury brand Prada was one of the first to terminate their contract.
Others like Beijing TV and Huading Awards have followed suit. Beijing TV issued a statement announcing the termination of all cooperation with Zheng Shuang and that they will no longer air any more works featuring the actress. They also stressed that they are boycotting artists who ignore the law, who are lacking in personal ethics and who violate social ethics.
Likewise, Huading Awards also announced they were revoking Zheng Shuang’s honorary titles of “The 19th Huading Awards for Best Actress in Modern Chinese TV Dramas” and “The 13th Huading Awards for National Audience Top Ten TV Stars“.