Red StarFebruary 1, 2013

She’s got talent

Yi Nengjing

Yi Nengjing, 43, was born in Taipei and started her career writing and singing Mandarin pop songs. After success as a singer, Yi began acting in films and TV in Taiwan. She then hosted her own TV programme before publishing five best-selling books in Taiwan, including essays, poems and novels.

Why is she famous in China?

More recently, Yi has spent most of her time on the Chinese mainland as one of the three judges on the primetime talent show China’s Got Talent. The series, produced by Shanghai’s satellite station Dragon TV, has just finished its fourth season.

Why is Yi in the news?

Yi recently voiced her support for the journalists at Southern Weekend after their clash with provincial officials over editorial censorship (see WiC177). She wrote on her weibo : “It is too far away from the south. I cannot see the truth over there.” This was her cryptic hint that the chastised newspaper might not prove so outspoken in the future, thought Apple Daily, a Hong Kong newspaper.

After the microblog post, Yi soon found her weibo account suspended (a shock for her 7 million followers too). She was later invited to “have tea” with officials, a euphemism for being given a warning for publishing messages deemed inappropriate.

More was to follow: the producer of China’s Got Talent then terminated her contract mid-season and the Global Times reports that she’s been banned from appearing in any Chinese media. Earlier, Yang Yi, spokesman of the Taiwan Affairs Office at China’s State Council explained that Taiwanese artists need to “abide by laws and regulations when they are in China”.

Meanwhile, Yi took to her weibo to express her disappointment: “I’m not a radical and I don’t have big ambition. I just didn’t anticipate that a few words would disrupt the peace and quiet in my life.”

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