Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

High price to pay for words said in anger

By ZHANG ZHOUXIANG (China Daily) Updated: 2016-08-20 10:11

High price to pay for words said in anger

Actor Wang Baoqiang (L)and his wife Ma Rong pose on the red carpet as they arrive for the screening of the film A Touch of Sin during the 66th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes on May 17,2013.[Photo/Agencies]

What has been the buzz on China's social media networks during the past week? No, it was nothing to do with the Olympics, but rather the divorce of a famous actor Wang Baoqiang and his wife Ma Rong.

At midnight on Sunday, Wang used his micro blog to announce he and his wife were getting a divorce because Ma has been having an affair with Wang's agent Song Zhe. Within 24 hours, his post had been shared 3 million times, and received over 1 million comments, as well as another million "likes".

Within days, the topic was viewed 6.6 billion times on micro blog, making it the hottest topic of the week. It is even viewed 100 times more than its runner-up on the ranking list of the top 10 hottest topics on micro blog.

Ma and Song, received over 1 million comments on their micro blog accounts, too, most of them criticizing their behavior, some with streams of vitriol. Latest news said that some fans were even trying to find Song, ready to blame him for cheating on his employer.

It is understandable that Wang is angry, but his public shaming of his wife and Song should not be condoned, especially as the couple's two underage children now have to grow up with the breakup of their parents' relationship in the prurient public eye.

In fact, Wang is the biggest victim, not only of his wife's betrayal, but also of his own action in airing his dirty laundry in public. The saga has become the hottest news nationwide and in the coming years he will be reminded about it again and again. He has become the gossip material of hundreds of millions of people nation-wide; this incident has even been spread among overseas Chinese communities, who use micro blog, too.

Among all the movie stars, Wang is proud of coming from a poor, rural family, and the words that are applied to him are "hardworking", "honest" and "friendly".Now the word that he will be associated with is "cuckold", which will of course win sympathy for him, but is unlikely to be good for his career in the long run.

Some argue that Wang has the right not to forgive his wife; surely he has. Nobody can stand morally high and ask Wang to forgive anybody, because nobody knows what he has suffered. But whether he forgives or not, that has nothing to do with publically shaming her. If a wife betrays her husband, it is her husband she is answerable to, not the public.

If Wang wants to punish his wife, he can sue her for a divorce, and, by proving her disloyalty, put her at a disadvantage in the lawsuit. That's the only legal measure he can resort to. However, he did not do that at first. He simply cast her before the judges in the court of public, and tried to claim the moral high ground. And by doing so, he shot himself in the foot.

The bad news for the gossips is, Wang has now done the right thing and stopped updating his blog and is no longer revealing any details about the meltdown of his marriage.

He is also taking his wife to court for a divorce, which is what he should have done in the first place.

But that's already a little too late. The day after Wang dropped his bombshell, Ma reportedly withdrew a lot of money from their accounts. News said he had to borrow money to pay his lawyers and the court fee, which means he has already been at a disadvantage in this lawsuit.

If that's true, Wang has paid a high price for his moral victory.

The author is a writer with China Daily.

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