China has very strict policies when it comes to child birth policy. The consequences of breaking them can be fatal— career-wise.
Chinese actress Zheng Shuang (郑爽) recently received criticism and backlash from the public. The reason? Having two surrogate kids and leaving them in the United States.
After breaking up with producer Zhang Heng (张恒) in December 2019, Zheng Shuang made several claims that resulted in rumours. She claimed he owed her money and that he had borrowed from loan sharks using her name and then refused to settle his debts.
On 18th January, Zhang Heng came forward with a different story. A photo of him with two young children was posted on Weibo, catching fans’ attentions immediately. He dismissed the rumours as lies and swore he hadn’t done such things. “I’ve been in the USA for over a year because I’m in charge of two lives,” he explained. “I’m helpless here. I’ve engaged a lawyer and I believe the truth will be revealed both in the US and Chinese courts.”
Shortly after the post went viral, Chinese media released the children’s birth certificates which list Zheng Shuang and Zhang Heng as their parents. Initially, fans were disbelieving as the children’s birthdates were too close— the boy having been born on 19th December 2019 and the girl, 4th January 2020.
However, subsequent reports were released, stating that the couple had secretly married in the US and that they had hired two surrogate mothers. Netizens were quick to criticise Zheng Shuang as surrogacy is illegal in China.
Chinese authorities also added their two cents. According to the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission of the Communist Party of China, “Surrogacy is banned in China as it uses a woman’s uterus as a tool and sells life as a commercial product.”
Zheng Shuang’s reputation worsened as a source close to Zhang Heng claimed she refused to let her children enter China. As US citizens, the children require their parents to sign a series of documents for permission to be in China. Zheng Shuang reportedly refused to give her signature.
An audio clip of an alleged discussion between the two families was released as well. The discussion took place prior to the births after the couple had broken up. On it, the Zheng family suggested giving the children up “for adoption”. Zheng Shuang also mentioned her annoyance that the children could not be aborted as the time for it had already passed.
The recent scandal has caused several companies, such as Prada to cut ties with her. Although she released two statements on Weibo stating that she “didn’t go against [her] country’s instructions while on Chinese soil, and respected all laws while [she] was overseas” and claiming Zhang Heng cheated on her, none of the allegations were addressed directly.