- Zheng's ex-boyfriend makes public that she has two surrogate kids.
- State-run newspapers put a death sentence to Zheng's career.
- Prada stopped cooperation with Zheng right after the incident.
Zheng Shuang got famous in China thanks to her leading role in the phenomenal TV series Let’s Watch the Meteor Shower in 2009. She has remained one of the top female celebrities for over a decade without other noticeable works. Her pretty face and bold personality have gained her a rather radical fan base, who always defend her all over the internet whenever there is any negative news about Zheng. But things are different this time.
On January 18, Zheng’s ex-boyfriend, Zhang Heng, wrote a post on Weibo that has received national attention. After his breakup with Zheng at the end of 2019, he has been harassed and assaulted by internet users, something all other ex-boyfriends of Zheng are familiar with. Zhang claimed that all the charges of him committing crimes of fraud and not paying debts are fake. He has been in the US taking care of his two kids and waiting for a juridical hearing.
Internet users soon connected his post with the old rumor of Zheng having two kids through surrogacy in the US. They searched public records and found a Certificate of Live Record and a hearing notice of dissolution with Zheng’s and Zhang’s names on them.
Later, informants leaked two phone calls between the families of Zhang and Zheng. According to the audio, Zheng changed her mind halfway through pregnancy and wanted to abort the babies, which was not possible at seven months. She didn’t show any love for the babies but just wanted to get rid of them, while Zhang’s family insisted on keeping them. Zheng’s attitude has invoked national rage on the internet.
On January 19, several state-run newspapers commented on the news and reinforced that in China, all types of surrogacy are forbidden. They criticized Zheng for going to the US to do so, setting a bad example for her fans. In China, it’s very rare for so many state-run media outlets to attack at once on a celebrity. Last time this happened the protagonist was Fan Bingbing for tax evasion. It’s a clear career death sentence for Zheng.
Just a week ago on January 11, Prada announced three new celebrity endorsers in China, one of which is Zheng. The stock price of Prada dropped 1.7% after the news on January 18. Prada soon took off all the ads with Zheng in them, and posted on Weibo that they had already stopped all cooperation with Zheng. Other brands with Zheng as the endorser have also rushed to do the same.
Internet users have also noticed that @gogoboi has cleared all the contents on his Weibo and WeChat accounts. He is an openly gay fashion vlogger and often publishes photos of his daughter. There were rumors before that he got the daughter through surrogacy too. Also, some posts on Zhihu are pointing to a surrogacy service provided by China’s largest gay dating app Blued, whose website is now inaccessible. It seems like this wave of witch hunts has just started.