Course:ASIA321/2022/Tang Wei

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Award-winning Chinese actress, Tang Wei, is well known for her appearance in the erotic espionage period film Lust, Caution (2007). This Wiki aims to provide a critical analysis on her celebrity identity, including turning points in his life and career, an analysis of her performance in his breakthrough film and her contributions to the film industry, in addition to reviewing and discussing the critical literature about him. This Wiki is targeted towards an academic audience within the realm of Chinese celebrity studies.


The Wikipedia page for Tang Wei touches on a lot of her career from her early life, early career, to her career now. One of the major events in her career that I’d like to touch on is the state-imposed hiatus that Tang Wei was put under afterher film “Lust, Caution”. There was a media ban on her, which meant that she was removed from the media, including in endorsements and ads, and she was wasn’t allowed to be in any upcoming films. Refer to the section  [Reception Of The Celebrity] for more information on how the ban affected her career and public perception.

In the wiki page, they mention that she returns to the big screen in 2010 with her film “Crossing Hennessy”. One detail that isn’t mentioned is that she is able to do so because she obtains citizenship in Hong Kong, which allows her to work again. Her career expands as she begins to work in films for regions outside of China.

Life roles

Childhood Tang Wei was born on October 7th, 1979, in Hangzhou, and raised in Hangzhou and Shenzhen, China. [1]Tang Wei was born in a family with a great artistic atmosphere--her mother Shi Xifeng is an actress while her father Tang Yuming is a painter. [2]With her father’s influence, Tang Wei was very into painting and wanted to be a painter as well in her early life. From 1982 to 1985, she went to Hangzhou Gaoyin Alley Kindergarten; from 1985 to 1991 she studied at Hangzhou Wulin Road Elementary School (which has merged into Hangzhou Anji Road Experimental School Wulin Xiaobu today ). Tang Wei is always grateful to one of her teachers from elementary school. In 2016, Tang Wei went back to Hangzhou with her daughter to visit the teacher. [3]She spent middle-school time at both Shenzhen Honglin Middle School and Zhejiang Hangzhou No.14 Middle School during 1992 to 1994. [4]After graduating from Hangzhou Fine Arts Vocational School in 1997, she started her pathway of acting.

Acting or Directing In the beginning, Tang Wei only took some after-school training classes of acting in Hangzhou. Later, with her dream of wanting to study at The Central Academy of Drama, which is one of the best schools of acting in China (along with Beijing Film Academy and Shanghai Theatre Academy are called “Three Big” in realm of art in China, which means “Three best academies”), she went all the way to Beijing. During the time of preparing for the admission test, she rented a bungalow near CAD (The Central Academy of Drama) in Beijing. She had to rely on her friends to pay for the rent, and at the same time she earned money from modelling and advertising. At first, Tang Wei was trying to get into the major of acting at CAD, but failed. For the second time, she still failed. Finally in 2000 she was admitted as a directing student at CAD. Despite the fact that she planned to learn acting, she ended up changing her goal to directing to enter the college. In terms of Tang Wei’s two failures of trying to get into CAD, there were many possible explanations. One of them was that Tang Wei’s appearance did not meet the populace's aesthetic in late 20th century China.[5] CAD was recognized as the “cradle of actors” so the selection was pretty much pander to the contemporary populace in the performing arts /entertainment industry.

Marriage In 2014 Tang Wei opened up her marriage status with a Korean director Kim Tae-yong. Their marriage ceremonies were held in Sweden and Hong Kong. Tang Wei unlocked a new role of a mother in August 2016. [6][7]

Screen roles

In a vast majority of Tang Wei’s screen roles has her play the role of the female lead in a romantic film. Wei’s breakout film, Lust, Caution is one of her most notable roles, where Tang Wei portrays the role of a university student who tries to assassinate a notable person in the Imperial Japanese puppet government that rule over Hong Kong and Shanghai in the 1940s[8]. This role had her live in Hong Kong for half a year to get acclimated to how the setting works, in addition to spending time with fellow actors and actresses to understand their characters more[9]. Due to some scenes in the movie, many controversies were associated with Tang Wei. She was blacklisted from the mainland China movie industry and was unable to work for 2 years due to the sex scenes in the movie[10][11], in addition to the subject and certain dialogue choices in the movie[12]. During this time, she moved to London to learn English and study drama, and later on obtain Hong Kong citizenship in Hong Kong[13].

Tony Chiu-Wai Leung and Tang Wei in Lust, Caution (2007)

After her hiatus, she returned to acting with the film Crossing Hennessy, a Cantonese film that tells a story of how a 41-year-old good-natured loser and a stubborn girl next door are forced into a blind date by their relatives and later find comfort and love from each other. During both her break and the preproduction of this film, she learned Cantonese[13]. However, since it is difficult to grasp the entire language in a short period of time, her Cantonese skills were not perfect. The director, Ivy Ho, actually wanted this aspect in the movie, as her character was originally from mainland China and moved to Hong Kong, so it would make sense that her Cantonese was not perfect.

In the same year, the English movie Late Autumn was released, where Wei plays the role of Anna, a prisoner who meets a South Korean man Hoon during her 3 days of parole to visit family. Once again Tang Wei’s proficiency in multiple languages is shown, this time being required to speak English while playing the character of Anna[14]. In between this movie and her next major role, Tang Wei took a few roles in other movies in the following year, such as Dragons, Speed Angels, and The Founding of a Party.

The English version of the poster for the movie Late Autumn starring Tang Wei

While Speed Angels was not a very successful movie, it has Tang Wei play as the female lead in an action film, rather than a romantic film[15]. Similarly, Dragons is a martial arts film, but this film had much greater success, with Tang Wei playing the role of the wife of the male lead in the movie[16].

The Founding of a Party was actually a film in which all of her scenes were removed. In the uncut version, she plays the role of Tao Yi, an early female partner of Mao Zedong. While there are conflicting reasons towards why it was removed, there were two common sentiments. One was that it was removed as Mao Xinyu, Mao Zedong’s grandson, objected to her appearance in the film due to her character in relation to Tang Wei’s role in Lust, Caution, stating that she was inappropriate for the character[17]. While the cinema industry claimed that Tang Wei’s scenes were moved as the factual accuracy of her role of Tao Yi is not confirmed, and stating that Tang Wei’s role in Lust, Caution has nothing to do with the removal of the scenes[18].

Tang Wei’s next most notable role was in the movie Finding Mr. Right, where she plays the role of a girlfriend trying to win back her married boyfriend. This is one of Tang Wei's first popular role in a comedy movie rather than a strictly romantic one[19]. This movie was significant enough to get a sequel, called Finding Mr. Right 2 or also known as Book of Love. The movie even reunites the two main leads, but the plot is unrelated to the original. Tang Wei plays the role of the casino hostess left with a large amount of debt from her father and a gambling problem of her own. She comes across a book titled with an address in London in which she blames her misfortune on, and her and the male lead exchange letters unbeknownst to each other[20].

Korean version of the movie Decision to Leave starring Park Hae-il and Tang Wei

The Golden Era is a biographical drama film in which Tang Wei does not take the role of a romantic lead. In fact, Tang Wei plays the role of Xiao Hong, one of the most important writers in 20th century China. Tang Wei describes the role she took as very relatable, as Wei herself shares common traits with Xiao Hong, being fortunate to do a lot of things that she wanted to do while growing up[21].

Blackhat, Monster Hunt, Only You, A Tale of Three Cities, and Office were all movies that she was casted for in 2015. A Tale of Three Cities and Only You are the only movies of the five in which Tang Wei has the role of the female lead in a romance movie. A Tale of Three Cities is a romance film that retells the love story between world famous actor Jackie Chan. Tang Wei plays the role of Chen Yuerong, who is the mother of world famous Jackie Chan in the movie[22]. Similarly, Only You is the remake of the 1994 version of the film, and also has Tang Wei adopting the female lead to a romantic comedy type movie[23].

Office is a musical comedy-drama film where Tang Wei plays the role of an office lady who unintentionally becomes involved in a dark world of crime. Wei describes the movie as her “dream crew,” as everything, from the whole aspect of the movie being a musical, to the set and even the style was completely new to her[24].

Blackhat is the film in which Tang Wei was exposed to an American audience. The movie starred actors Chris Hemsworth, in addition to Tang Wei herself, and Wang Leehom. All of whom are famous actors and actresses in the own right. Tang Wei plays as Hemsworth’s girlfriend in the movie, although their romantic relationship is not explored very much as the movie was primarily focused on the action-thriller scenes. This movie required Tang Wei to learn how to speak in a specific dialect, as the movie was set in Chicago, so many of the actors and actresses needed to learn the specific intricacies in the way Chicago natives spoke[25].

Decision to Leave and Wonderland are two of her latest films, the latter not being released yet. Decision to Leave has Tang Wei play the female lead of another romantic mystery film. Tang Wei describes the challenges of working on the film primarily consisting of the language as Wei says that she cannot speak Korean well yet but is familiar with the language as she is married to Korean director Kim Tae-yong[26].

Substantive analysis of the celebrity's profession

Blackhat (2015)

In the film Blackhat, Tang Wei plays the role of Chen Lien, a networking engineer. Sister of Captain Chen Dawai, and boyfriend of Nicholas Hathaway, a convicted computer hacker. The movie is about a nuclear power plant in Hong Kong getting hacked and set to explode from overheating. This enlists both the FBI and the China’s People Liberation Army to find the hackers. Chen Dewai is tasked to find the hackers, recruiting Chen Lien, a networking engineer, and convinces the FBI to release Chen Dewai’s former roommate, Nicholas Hathaway. Through their joint efforts, they realize that the power plant hack

Chen Lien (TANG WEI) is recruited by her brother, Chen Dawai (LEEHOM WANG) in BLACKHAT.©Universal Pictures/Legendary Pictures. CR: Frank Connor.

was merely a test to see if the program actually worked, while the hacker's true motive is to disrupt the world economy to make a literal fortune. They travel worldwide, from New York to L.A. to Tokyo and even Jakarta. Tang Wei and her character Chen Lien have a lot of similarities. One of the most evident ones is the use of their language in the movie. Tang Wei is fluent in both English and Mandarin, and in the movie, Chen Lien occasionally will speak in Mandarin to her brother in order to hide certain messages from other people. Chen Lien is also not very well known with the exception of her brother, as her character mimics her actual persona, as someone who is humble and tries to be on the downlow. In fact, her introduction scene was her at a bar talking to a seemingly wealthy person before Chen Dewai needed to talk to her. A key difference between Tang Wei and the character that she plays is the technology aspect. Tang Wei said in an interview that she is not very technologically savvy, while Chen Lien is literally a network engineer. So, during the movie process, Wei learned a lot about the technology sector. The location of the movie also plays a big role in where Tang Wei grew up and experiences currently. Since Tang Wei is a famous actress in China, unsurprisingly she would be recognized wherever she goes. Hong Kong and China serve as major locations in the movie. Both locations are also where Tang Wei has had most of her success and needs to go incognito to avoid paparazzi. However, since the movie also is in the US, Tokyo and other various places, she describes it as much more relaxing, as fewer people recognize her walking around, due to the lack of movies that had a significant global presence. Blackhat also did not do too well so it further helped in her ability to remain undercover.

Finding Mr. Right (2013)

In the film Finding Mr. Right, Tang Wei plays the role of a typical “material girl” Wen Jiajia. She was a food magazine editor before she met her boyfriend. Wen Jiajia was his mistress so they could not officially get married. After Wen Jiajia was pregnant, she decided to go to Seattle and give her kid birth in the USA. She was urged to get US citizenship for her kid. Wen Jiajia met a driver named Frank there, who was also her true love. During the time getting along with each other, Frank gradually changed Wen Jiajia’s unruly and tough characteristics, and eventually fell in love with her. Tang Wei, in fact, has nothing to do with the initial Wen Jiajia. Wen Jiajia was a very self-willed girl and loved flaunting her wealth, which nevertheless did not even belong to her. She did not get along well with anyone in the house in Seattle. In contrast, Tang Wei is recognized as a very humble and low-key celebrity. Her image is always associated with “tenderness” and “refinement ”. [27]This is largely influenced by her original family. However, there is one thing that Tang Wei is similar to Wen Jiajia, which is their persistent personalities. Wen Jiajia changed a lot after her boyfriend got into financial trouble. Her main source of income was cut so she had to make money by herself. Wen Jiajia sold her luxury bags, which were things she cherished the most, to make money for life. Similarly, Tang Wei also went through such a tough period of time. In 2008, Tang Wei was banned by the Chinese National Radio and Television Administration due to her controversial performance in Lust, Caution. This year has been extremely hard for her acting career. However, she still did not give up acting. Instead during this time she went to the UK to study English and theatre at London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, enhancing herself and waited for the chance to act again.[28]

Wen Jiajia (TANG WEI) is selling her purses to make money in Finding Mr. Right. CR: Alexis Fisher.

The movie Finding Mr. Right takes place in Seattle, USA. Wen Jiajia was a girl from Beijing and she met Frank in Seattle, therefore when the film was released in mainland China, the title was translated as “Beijing meets Seattle”. However, the film was mainly shot in Vancouver, Canada. [29]There are only a few scenes such as road boards as well as the symbolic landmark Space Needle shot in Seattle. Born and raised in China, Tang Wei does not seem to have many connections with other countries. However, she actually has some connections with Seattle in her acting career. Finding Mr. Right is not Tang Wei’s first movie that is set in Seattle. Before that, another Tang Wei's famous movie, Late Autumn, is also set in Seattle, USA. Both movies are love stories. Tang Wei acts as a foreigner from Beijing in Finding Mr. Right while she acts as a local American-Chinese girl born and raised in Seattle in Late Autumn. What is interesting is that Late Autumn is a Korean movie while Finding Mr. Right is a Chinese movie, but both directors choose Seattle as the background.

The celebrity’s contribution to their professional field (cinema, film culture, and beyond):

Tang Wei is one of China’s most decorated actresses, winning awards and being nominated for awards for virtually all of her major major movies, in addition to being ranked #17 on Forbes China Celebrity 100 list and New York Times top 15 best performers in 2007[30]. Tang Wei’s influence isn’t entirely encapsulated in her awards however, as many of her most notable accolades go beyond the category “Best Actress.” Tang Wei’s acting is one of which people describe as primarily encapsulated in expressive facial expressions. Although her ability to speak multiple languages is important in the present times, some papers claim that grasp of language isn’t the most important part of transcending national boundaries. For instance, Tang Wei’s role of Anna in Late Autumn is one of her most decorated performances, and she barely speaks during the performance. This is due to a combination of a few things, but most notably Tang Wei not being fluent in Korean and the director’s choice[31].  Similar to the silent cinema era, where people could only use facial expressions and body movement to portray a character, Tang Wei’s portrayal of Anna mimics the time when speech was not very important. This pushes the current understanding of cinema as generally, we view blockbuster movies as having speech and language being a pivotal role, but it is evidently not required for a film to be great as Late Autumn showcases. Late Autumn was a hit in both South Korea and China, and displays how Tang Wei does not need to know a particular language to give an award-winning performance, The minimalist style of acting that is common to East Asian cultures and traditions is so culturally distinct that it makes her performance more accessible to audiences across countless countries and cultures.  Tang Wei’s cinematic success in South Korea will ultimately help the entire East Asian cinema community, as more and more directors will recruit actors and actresses from other cultures, even if they do not speak the language perfectly.[32]

Key societal, economic, political, moral, and historical forces that influenced the celebrity’s career:

Many of the controversies that were associated with Tang Wei were generally political, as her first ban from acting was due to her role in Lust, Caution, and The Founding of a Party had her scenes pulled due to political influence. In Lust, Caution, Tang Wei’s character joins the Chinese resistance and is tasked with killing a powerful Japanese collaborator whose country occupies Shanghai in the 1940s, but she changes her mind at the last minute[33]. This act, in addition to the various sex scenes in the movie, had her banned by the China’s State Administration of Radio Film and Television for 2 years. Many of her commercial deals in China were pulled as all print ads and feature content could not be displayed[12]. The political aspect, unsurprisingly, was not well received by the Chinese government, as even though the movie was intended to be a romance movie and not intended to be a political movie, the nature of the setting will inevitably cause issues. The second issue was Tang Wei’s role in the movie The Founding of a Party, as she plays the role of Tao Yi, one of Mao Zedong’s early lovers. She was cut from the film after being deemed as politically unsuitable for the part, likely due to her role in Lust, Caution. Many directors have come out to say that the reason behind her removal from the film is likely political. Director He Ping commented saying ''Make a movie and then cut all her scenes? Her acting is good, both her role and the plot are necessary. It is just due to some reason that cannot be articulated,'' he said. ''Others who were once involved are still doing their job legally and reasonably. Only a poor girl has to stand out and take bashing.''[18] While Manfred Wong, a Hong Kong director says that ''high-level censorship considerations'' may have been behind the reason to remove Tang Wei from the film. “Film and television censorship is becoming an increasingly sensitive topic as the Communist Party steps up its efforts to ''guide public opinion'' to create what it calls a ''harmonious and stable society.""[18]

Reception of the celebrity

From being on a hiatus to receiving an eight minute long standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival, Tang Wei’s career and public perception has taken many turns. But interestingly, even despite the ban on her career after “Lust, Caution”, the public perception around Tang Wei appears to be majorly positive. Part of that may be due to the fact that discussion boards surrounding her film and the actress were taken down during the initial ban. But what remains online in articles and the few discussion boards are all widely positive, many of these articles noting that the actress was well-received but the state banned her in the media. Today, the conversations around Tang Wei and her career remain widely positive. Since her return, she’s been in multiple award winning films and has grown an extensive fanbase. She seems to be admired by many for being hardworking, dedicated, and a down to earth actress. These ideas are shared by industry professionals, reporters, companies, and her fans.

Filmmakers and directors see Tang Wei as being a passionate and dedicated worker, which leads them to giving her more roles and power in the entertainment industry. There are stories about Tang Wei studying multiple languages and dialects of Chinese in order for her roles in films. Further, the actress wore a bag of rice everyday to simulate being pregnant for her role in the film, “Finding Mr. Right”. This image assisted her as there is continued demand for her to take on roles in film from filmmakers, even though she is on a state-imposed hiatus. Articles online about Tang Wei present her as being a well-liked actress with a good personality. Many articles will mention the times where she learned a new language, or took on physical work (wearing a rice bag) in order to better perform as her characters in the film. One author even said that they “salute her for her sheer dedication to the craft”[34]. She’s shown to be relatable in many of the articles as she’s mentioned that she can’t wear heels, takes public transit, and unlike other celebrities doesn't have a personal assistant [34][35]. Companies often share the positive sentiments about her. The watch company, Rado, made Tang Wei their brand ambassador in 2014, because the actress reflects the brand's values according to CEO Matthias Breschan[36]. He says that her innovation and risk taking are part of reasons he sees her as the perfect match for the company.Fans often praise her for her performance in the films that she is in. On reddit, there is a discussion about one of her newer films “Decision to Leave”, which includes many praises of her performance in the film and her talents as an actress[37].

Critical literature review

Film acting as cultural practice and transnational vehicle: Tang Wei’s minimalist performance in Late Autumn (2011) by Sabrina Qiong Yu[32]

Yu’s major argument in this paper is that non-hollywoodized acting is able to go beyond cultural and national boundaries to become transnational. In this paper, Yu does a deep dive into Tang Wei’s role of Anna in the movie Late Autumn, and how her minimalistic and unspoken acting style helped her achieve fame. The article argues that Tang Wei’s acting style is rooted in East Asian cultural and aesthetic traditions and can be understood as a distinctive cultural practice.  Currently, in East Asia, there is a lot of cross-casting between cultures. In the past, Chinese language blockbusters have been primarily consisting of a cast with only Hong Kong, Taiwan and mainland China actors and actresses, but the recent movie hits have casted Korean or Japanese actors to maximize revenue in East Asia. In Late Autumn, Tang Wei plays a character known as Anna, a forsaken, suppressed woman who has a turbulent inner world. Her character takes minimalistic acting to a high degree. Tang Wei’s character wore no makeup for the film and wore the same costume throughout. Yu describes Tang Wei’s ability to garner attention as “In a world predominantly defined by visual spectacle and visual pleasure, it is obviously a bold decision not to wear make-up or change costume, especially for an actress in a transnational production who usually relies on her appearance to attract an international audience.” This draws attention to her performance rather than her appearance. Anna’s emotions are conveyed through Tang Wei’s silence, gestures, eye movements and reactions or lack thereof. Transnational stars are generally required to speak decent English, but the two stars in Late Autumn do not speak each other's native language, so they use an accented English. Through changing their pitch, tone, speed and meter, they portray their characters emotions through their vocal performance. Foreign actors don’t have to rely on verbal language to communicate meaning, rather they use emotion and gesture. As a result, Tang Wei’s international success in the film Late Autumn was not reliant on verbal language, as facial expressions, body movement and vocal performance can showcase a character just as well as with only verbal language.

Tang Wei: Sex, the City and the Scapegoat in Lust, Caution by Stephanie Hemelryk, D. [13]

Donald’s article discusses the Tang Wei incident in early 2008. After acting the role of Wang Jiazhi in Ang Lee’s film Lust, Caution, Tang Wei gained world-wide success as well as recognition, but also criticism and controversies. In Donald's article, after briefly introducing plots and several particularly controversial scenes of the movie Lust, Caution, he points out another ongoing important event in early 2008, which is the Beijing Olympics. Donald states that the possible reason why Tang Wei’s acting career suddenly got undermined was mainly due to the contradiction between Chinese traditional concept and the sex scenes in the movie. [13]As Confucianism is the dominant thought in mainland China, Wang Jiazhi is considered as a negative role of women in Confucian social relations.Tang Wei's acting is considered as violating the Chinese traditional thought. Lust, Caution was released in the second half year of 2007. The lead-up to the Beijing Olympics in 2008 makes the PRC government extremely sensitive to anything that might threaten the moral authority and social legitimacy. This movie is therefore considered an inappropriate film, which also has a significant impact on actress Tang Wei. Donald also uses the “flying girl” Lin Miaoke and “Singin”Yang Peiyi in the Beijing Opening Ceremony as an example to prove that China has a certain version of feminine beauty in Chinese cultural nationalism. This article thoroughly analyzes the main reason of Tang Wei being banned in 2008.

Study “images of females” in films that are created by Tang Wei (汤唯塑造的电影“女性形象”研究) by Cheng  Lin[38]

As a worldwide famous actress, Tang Wei has created many impressive female roles in different movies. Cheng’s article analyzes images of females across different movies that are created by Tang Wei by focusing on two main roles: Anna in the Late Autumn and Xiao Hong in The Golden Era. She discusses the features of these two roles and Tang Wei’s relationship with these roles: similarities, breakthrough and contrast. Tang Wei represents a female prisoner image in the movie Late Autumn. Late Autumn is a turning point for Tang Wei's acting career as it marks the beginning of Tang Wei entries in the Korean acting market. She also succeeds in winning many awards as well as global recognition by acting in this film. In the movie The Golden Era, Tang Wei acts as a writer. One of the most difficult things for Tang Wei to act this role is that Xiao Hong is a real person that existed. Xiao Hong is a famous Chinese writer. It is extremely hard to act a real person well who has already built a clear figure in this world, and it is hard to satisfy the audience. Cheng says that in order to demonstrate this role well, Tang Wei went to Harbin where Xiao Hong had lived to feel the city, trying to enter Xiao Hong’s inward world. [38]Xiao Hong’s image shows the life of a talented writer who is passionate about life in a turbulent period. The Golden Era takes place in the early 20th century (the ROC era). Cheng states that despite being in the patriarchal society, Xiao Hong always insists on the equality of gender, staying independent. Sadly, what she got eventually was just loss of relationships. Cheng also mentions that both Anna and Xiao Hong lack security, and are lonely. However, they are all persistent, brave and independent at the same time. This article shows the real Chinese females’ status and their inner world (spirits, thoughts, personalities, etc.) of females in Chinese society. Tang Wei helps demonstrate those very well with her delicate acting skills.

Sensing ‘performance anxiety’: Zhang Ziyi, Tang Wei, and female film stardom in the People’s Republic of China[39]

Zuo’s major argument in his article is that Tang Wei was able to wash away the shameful image that was developed after her highly sexualized role in “Lust, Caution” by developing a high culture image. Her high culture status and image is shown through the low profile she kept during her two-year ban, where she appeared publicly in a very lowkey manner. The author makes this argument by analyzing the articles and media that surrounded Tang Wei during the time. The activities that she was seen publicly doing after her hiatus were volunteering, at charity events, in bookstores, fashion shows, and attending drama and chinese courses. According to the authors, these acts were all useful to her public image as they told the story of a well-rounded, dignified celebrity. This was in stark contrast to the shamefully promiscuous actress that she was being somewhat painted as for her ban and her role in the “Lust, Caution”.  During this time, there was lots of contradictory information in the media regarding why the film was banned. On the one hand, Zhang Jianyong, the deputy director of SARFT, stated that the censorship of “Lust, Caution” was due to the glamorization of traitors during wartime. He made a point also to clarify that Tang Wei was not banned for her sexual role in the film but for other reasons relating to saying something she shouldn’t have in Taiwan. However, much of the popular media such as news articles said that she was banned for the highly-sexual performance. Further, there was a lot of mixed feelings about Tang Wei’s sexual performance. She was seen as unpatriotic and shameful for ‘selling’ her body for the film.

Critical debates

Critical debates: What social, cultural, and ideological problems are suggested through the literature review? Focus on the moments when scholars, journalists, reviewers, or the public make complaints over or judgements of the celebrity, especially when they exhibit divergent or contradictory attitudes toward the celebrity in terms of his/her achievement, professional life, personal life, scandals, etc.. Those moments are often very telling occasions for you to diagnose the explicit and implicit debate going on among them. You want to articulate how they disagree with one another; why there will be such a strong or mild disagreement; and if you can find a middle-ground or an alternative perspective to diffuse the tension therein. Feel free to incorporate ideas from our in-class lectures, discussions, and other external sources. Feel free to look at the debate from a psychological, sociological, anthropological, economic, political, philosophical, historical, and aesthetical point of view if the disciplinary knowledge can offer an interesting insight into this issue. You should find your own interpretation or solution on this aspect.


Tang Wei's celebrity and fanbase continues to grow as she participates in more films around the world. Her dedication to her craft, humble personality, and talent in performance are reasons that people love her and will continue to. By looking at Tang Wei, we can see how so many complex factors play a role in one's celebrity and how fame and public perception are complex and ever-changing. Looking at Tang Wei’s career and celebrity can reveal that negative press from one aspect of a celebrity's career may not be as impactful as imagined. Tang Wei was banned in the media and lost her upcoming roles, yet she still was loved by fans and had a good public image. Something that seemed like it would taint her reputation ended up only making her appear more resilient. Because the personality that the public knew was so positive, the ban hardly changed the way in which people perceived her.


  1. "Tang Wei: Meet or not, Hang Zhou is just there. (汤唯:见或者不见,杭州就在那里)". Hang Zhou Website. October 21, 2012.
  2. "Revealing of Tang Wei's grow up path. (揭密汤唯成长路:继承母亲文艺气 贵人推荐演色戒)". Southern Metropolis Weekly. November 8, 2007.
  3. Liu, Zaimin (May 14, 2018). "Tang Wei's elementary teacher promised to teach her daughter pinyin, and goddess Tang really brought her daughter to her teacher.(汤唯小学老师承诺教她女儿拼音,汤女神就真的把女儿带到了老师家)". Sina News.
  4. "Tang Wei's high school graduation photos revealed. (汤唯高中毕业照曝光 媒体猛挖学校保持沉默)". Sina News. November 21, 2007.
  5. "Stars also failed for admission of Arts academies: Jiang Wen was eliminated, and Tang Wei has taken the exam for three times.(艺考明星也落榜:姜文曾被淘汰汤唯连考三年)". Beijing Morning News. February 28, 2011.
  6. Sing Tao Website (June 23, 2022). "Korean daughter-in-law: Tang Wei says that she does not know Korean at all. (「韓國媳婦」湯唯自爆完全不懂韓語)".
  7. "Tang Wei gave birth to her daughter. (汤唯顺产诞下女儿 曾称怕生儿子在家不招待见)". China News Service Website (Beijing). August 28, 2016.
  8. Ebert, Roger (October 04, 2007). "And that's just the Mah-jongg". Check date values in: |date= (help)
  9. "Production Notes - Lust, Caution". 01.19.2010. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  10. "Ang Lee defends blacklisted Chinese "Lust" actress". Reuters. MARCH 10, 2008. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  11. "Chinese actress Tang Wei 'blacklisted over spy thriller'". March 8, 2008.
  12. 12.0 12.1 ""Lust, Caution" actress banned in China". Reuters. MARCH 9, 2008. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 "Tang Wei: back better than ever". April 1, 2010. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name ":1" defined multiple times with different content
  14. Li, Jade (Oct 4, 2014). "Tang Wei: Crossover Star Enchants Two Nations". Variety.
  15. "Speed Angels". IMDB. 2011.
  16. Corliss, Mary (Nov. 29, 2012). "Dragon: The One-Armed Swordsman With a Heart". TIME. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  17. "Tang Wei cut from China's propaganda epic". Variety. May 14, 2011.
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 Foster, Peter (May 15, 2011). "Red tape rules as lusty lover cut from Mao epic". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  19. "Tang Wei gets busy". China Daily. 2013-01-15.
  20. Frater, Patrick (May 1, 2016). "China Box Office: 'Book of Love' Wins May Day Weekend". Variety.
  21. Jackson, Julie (Oct 3, 2014). "Actress Tang Wei: 'This is my golden era'". The Korea Herald.
  22. "A Tale of Three Cities". IMDB.
  23. "Only You". IMDB.
  24. Sun-ah, Shim (October 03, 2015). "Tang Wei enjoyed working with 'dream crew' in 'Office'". Yonhap News Agency. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  25. Dawson, Angela (January 14, 2015). "EXCLUSIVE: Tang Wei Tops Busy Year with 'Blackhat'". Front Row Features.
  26. Cheung, Karma (22 JUL 2022). "". VOGUE. Check date values in: |date= (help); External link in |title= (help)
  27. "Goddess Tang Wei travelled quietly and politely.(女神汤唯出行低调有礼貌 合作大导获好评)". Netease News. September 15, 2015.
  28. "Tang Wei: Studying abroad opens another door for me in my life. (汤唯 || 留学,打开了我生命中的另一扇门 )". February 21, 2018. Retrieved Sohu. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  29. Elley, Derek (May 2, 2013). "Finding Mr. Right". Film Business Asia.
  30. HIRSCHBERG, LYNN (Feb. 10, 2008). "Breaking Through". The New York Times Magazine. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  31. Lim, Jong-uhp (12 February 2012). "Chinese actress Tang Wei shines in fourth remake of 'Late Autumn'". The Hankyoreh.
  32. 32.0 32.1 Yu, Sabrina Qiong (2014). "Film acting as cultural practice and transnational vehicle: Tang Wei's minimalist performance in Late Autumn (2011)". Transational Cinemas. 5: 141–155 – via Taylor & Francis Online.
  33. "Actress Tang Wei blacklisted in China over 'Lust, Caution'". Taipei Times. Mar 09, 2008. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  34. 34.0 34.1 Shi, Tianyun (May 23, 2014). "5 Things We Love About Chinese Actress Tang Wei". Her World.
  35. Liu, Wei (April 8, 2013). "Tang Wei is no Barbie".
  36. Lee, C.Y. "Rad as Tang Wei". The Star.
  37. "Official Discussion - Decision to Leave [SPOILERS]". Reddit.
  38. 38.0 38.1 Cheng, Lin (March 3, 2020). "Study "images of females" in films that are created by Tang Wei (汤唯塑造的电影"女性形象"研究)". Shen Hua (Shang).
  39. Zuo, M (2015). "Sensing 'performance anxiety': Zhang Ziyi, Tang Wei, and female film stardom in the People's Republic of China". Celebrity Studies. 6(4): 519–537.


UBC Asian Centre, Bell Shrine, Winter 2013.JPG
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