Chinese actress Zheng Shuang is facing massive backlash after being accused by her former partner, producer Zhang Heng, of abandoning their two children born to U.S.-based surrogate mothers.
An international scandal: In a 2019 audio recording that emerged on Monday, Heng said Shuang decided to abandon the children before they were even born following the end of their relationship, South China Morning Post reports.
- Heng, Shuang and their parents talked about the fate of the then-unborn children.
- Shuang’s father purportedly made the suggestion to abandon the children at the hospital.
- The actress herself was frustrated over the fact that they could no longer abort the unborn babies as they were already seven months in the womb.
- In response to the accusations, Shuang explained on Weibo that she only returned to China after she found out that Heng cheated on her in September 2019, reports Today.
- “Zhang Heng’s parents apologized to my parents (…) That night, my father told me to give him money if that’s what he wants. They didn’t want me to blame myself. Dad, mum, I’m sorry for not letting you speak up because whatever we say could become gossip,” she wrote, adding: “I needed help to figure out how to resolve the situation with the children”.
Mounting backlash: Chinese authorities and international brands linked to Shuang have since reacted to the controversy, unanimously condemning the actress for the alleged act.
- China’s Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission took to Weibo to berate the actress for using a legal loophole by traveling to the U.S., noting how “surrogacy is banned in China as it uses women’s uteruses as a tool and sells life as a commercial product.”
- State-owned media CCTV echoed the message, adding that surrogacy is “trampling the bottom line [of human morality].”
- Magazines that previously promoted the actress have also started deleting social media posts about her while award shows began pulling the awards given to her in the past.
- Local and international fashion/cosmetics brands have made public announcements distancing themselves from Shuang, with fashion label Prada notably dropping her as its ambassador.
- Social media users have not only attacked Shuang online, but also started criticizing other celebrities for their previous associations with surrogacy.
With China’s Ministry of Health prohibiting surrogacy in the country, underground businesses have resorted to setting up clients with black-market surrogates in China or sending them overseas to where the practice is legal.
Feature image via Viki Global TV