These days, China’s top stars aren’t just China’s top stars.
A growing throng of thesps, helmers and performers are using their fame and fortune to become global citizens, taking on foreign residency for reasons ranging from tax implications to looser travel restrictions.
Gong Li, the country’s best-known actress, last week received a certificate proclaiming her a citizen of Singapore. (She married a Singaporean tobacco tycoon in 1996.)
Zhang Ziyi became a Hong Kong resident a year ago. (H.K. is part of China, but has its own legal system and lower rates of taxation .)
Jet Li has U.S. citizenship, and helmer Chen Kaige is also an American. Pianists Lang Lang and Li Yundi also became Hong Kongers.
Chinese bloggers are incensed by the citizenship shuffle, and what Chinese officials think of the starry exodus can only be guessed at; there have been no official statements on the subject.
Li, Zhang and company are perhaps too big internationally and too cherished at home to be reprimanded. But “Lust, Caution,” actress Tang Wei continues to be punished for that film’s decadence.
She too became a Hong Kong resident this year, but with her name on an official blacklist she has found roles slipping through her fingers.
But for an English-speaking actress of her abilities, there’s always Hollywood.