When parents fight, it’s usually the children who suffer. For children of celebrities, it can be twice as bad.
Recently, it seemed that Chinese actress Zheng Shuang (郑爽)’s surrogate scandal with her husband Zhang Heng (张恒) was over. However, on 21st May, Zhang Heng wrote a letter to netizens asking them to “let his children go”.
Earlier this year, it was discovered that Zheng Shuang and Zhang Heng had two surrogate children living in the United States. After a long custody battle, Zhang Heng won the right to be the children’s primary caregiver. However, according to Zhang Heng, the battle wasn’t over yet. Zhang Heng explained that netizens had been judging both him and Zheng Shuang. Her fans in particular have been vicious towards him. Everything came to a head on 21st May, when Zhang Heng wrote a post on Weibo dedicated to Zheng Shuang’s fans.
“I have seen all your criticisms and accusations against me, and your topics have reached nearly 100 million, so I want to sit down and write some thoughts to you,” the producer said. Zhang Heng said that he had been enduring abuse for about a year and a half now. “I hate some of you, and I treat these people with anger and hatred!” he exclaimed. He stated he has been called many names such as “gay” and “American dog”. It wasn’t until he saw someone’s comment that his entire viewpoint changed.
The netizen said, “Zheng Shuang is (someone) I have loved for ten years. I can’t accept her (wrongdoings) because I don’t want to admit that I (loved her) by mistake. I am willing to make mistakes again and again!” Zhang explained this comment made him realise their attacks on him may not be out of hatred, but instead, out of love for Zheng Shuang.
Many fans also thought he was lying about being granted “parenting solo decision-making authority”. The producer had apparently announced it on Weibo on 13th May. In an effort to show he hadn’t been lying, Zhang planned to translate all 30 pages of the court verdict to Chinese. He also wanted to explain why Zheng Shuang had only been granted limited visitation rights. But he gave up the idea, questioning if it was all worth it. “Is it really important to win? Did I really win?” he asked. As he looked at his children and his tired parents, he realised there was nothing to win. “Except for my children, I have lost my entire life,” he wrote. “(I have) also lost the rest of my parents’ lives.”
Zhang Heng thanked the fans for “waking him up”. “I know I’m not qualified to put out any demands,” he said. “But as I father, I want to plead and beg you guys to let me and my two children return to having a normal life.” Zhang explained he had seen netizens cursing his two children, even going as far as to threaten them online. “You can continue to attack and abuse me,” he told them. “But can you leave my children (out of it)?”
The producer said he was willing to admit defeat and say he lost the custody lawsuit, as long as netizens stopped the attack on his children. “I also know that now no matter what I say, you will never give up,” he admitted. At his wits end, he asked Zheng Shuang for help in dealing with netizens.
Should children bear the sins of their parents? It is easy for people to blame them; they cannot fight back, nor can they defend themselves. But one must wonder, what does it take for someone to condemn a child whose only ‘fault’ was being born?