Move over Olympics, this celebrity split is now what everyone in China’s talking about.
A Chinese actor’s divorce from his wife, over her alleged extramarital affair, has social media buzzing, with posts about the subject gaining over five billion views.
Wang Baoqiang announced online on Sunday that he was divorcing his wife, Ma Rong, and sacking his agent, Song Zhe.
He alleged that his marriage broke down after his wife had an affair with his agent, and that she had also transferred the couple’s joint assets.
Ma has hit back at Wang, accusing him of abandoning their family.
The topic has sparked a debate about relationships and divorce, and it seems Wang’s predicament has struck a chord with many - which could explain the number of views, which are high even by Chinese standards.
The divorce quickly became a top trending topic in China. According to microblog Sina Weibo, posts with the hashtag #WangBaoQiangDivorce have been viewed over five billion times.
Chinese netizens seem to have rallied around Wang, with topics like #WangDontCry #WangWeSupportYou, quickly trending after news of the divorce spread.
Statistics by Weibo showed that 47% of netizens’ posts condemned Ma for her affair, saying it had shattered her family. Some have even published her home address online.
"Wang is a hardworking man from a rural area. She cheated an honest man. I hate these kinds of people," said one commenter on weibo.
But why are they so interested?
No other celebrity divorce or marriage has ever caused such a big stir on Chinese social media.
On the surface, this might seem like just another Chinese celebrity split. But what is it about this one that’s got all of China ruffled up?
Some people feel that this divorce seems to fit a certain trope - of a beautiful but ordinary girl marrying a rich but less good-looking man.
It is not uncommon to hear the belief that a couple has to "match" at every level - be it in status, or physical appearance - for a relationship to work out.
An ancient Chinese classical novel even warned against unmatched marriages.
In the novel Water Margin, Pan Jinlian, a beautiful money-loving wife, cheats on her husband Wu Dalang, who is relatively more unattractive. She eventually kills him.
Wang and Ma’s split has many people wondering if uneven matches are unlikely to succeed.
It’s also making people talk about divorce.
A lot of social media discussion has also centred around divorce, and in particular how people can protect themselves.
Wang has alleged that his wife transferred and hid some of the couple’s assets. They’re a wealthy couple - their assets, according to Chinese media, include nine flats, a BMW car and various luxury goods.
As a result, people are debating the importance of protecting individual assets, even after marriage.