The Chinese TV show accused of copying Queer Eye has no openly gay stars
Viewers in China say a new reality TV show in the country bears a striking resemblance to the popular Queer Eye series on Netflix. Just without the gay Fab Five. The reality show You are so Beautiful premiered on state-owned streaming service Mango TV in December. Like the Emmy-winning American show, the Chinese program depicts makeovers masterminded by five experts in charge of fashion, grooming, food, home design and lifestyle. However, none of the five experts on You are so Beautiful is openly gay. The show, which has streamed three episodes so far, has also made no effort to promote LGBTQ acceptance like Queer Eye.  Mentions of LGBTQ issues are often censored in Chinese media. Although
Godfrey Gao death prompts questions of celebrity exploitation
The death of Taiwanese actor Godfrey Gao has prompted questions about whether the Chinese and South Korean reality television industry exploits celebrities to satiate audience hunger for evermore extreme situations.  Gao died of sudden cardiac arrest in November during the shooting of Chinese reality show Chase Me – a spin-off from South Korea’s most popular reality show Running Man. In both shows, cast members competed in races and missions every week that involve physical activities such as running, hiding and chasing each other. Gao fell and lost consciousness while making the show, after reportedly suffering from the flu and working for 17 hours before his death. Chase Me was canceled af
The movie from 1998 that’s going gangbusters in China
China’s consumer class is always looking for the latest, most cutting-edge smartphone app or the most talked-about viral video. Who would have predicted, then, that a 21-year-old movie would take Chinese cinema by storm over the past few weeks? What’s incredible is that The Legend of 1900 was hardly a classic in the first place.  Revolving around a piano prodigy, played by Tim Roth, who had spent his entire life on board an ocean liner, the movie received mixed reviews on its release in 1998, with disapproving critics lambasting it as “fragile” (Variety), “overwrought” (San Francisco Chronicle), schmaltz that “drowns in its own treacle” (Salon.com). The first English-language feature by Ital
Apology for Godfrey Gao death met with criticism
A Chinese television network has pulled a reality show and apologized after the sudden death on-set of Taiwanese-Canadian actor and model Godfrey Gao. Zhejiang Television offered an apology in an interview with the show’s director, Lin Yong. It was posted online on Thursday, about a week after the performer, known as Gao Yixiang in Chinese, collapsed while shooting an episode of Chase Me. In the post titled “Sorry, we didn’t protect Yixiang in his prime,” Lin said the network had been “immersed in grief and remorse since the accident happened.” “We feel we owe an apology to Godfrey Gao, to his parents and to all who loved him,” he said. Gao, 35, was a contestant on the show and collapsed aft
How comedy and protests helped me find my Hong Kong identity
“Get lost gweilo!” says the old man. I firmly respond, “How dare you call me gweilo! Be respectful and call me ah-cha!”  If you got this joke, then you have a local understanding of racism in Hong Kong.  (For those who don’t get it, gweilo is a Cantonese term for white people while ah-cha refers to South Asians.)  I’m an Indian made in Hong Kong. And because I was born and raised here, my parents felt it was vital that I learn the local language of Cantonese. They wanted me to better integrate into society and avoid the limitations they faced due to their own language barrier. It seemed like a simple formula: Learn the language, become a local, everybody’s happy.  However, as we realized in
Michelle Yeoh hopes Crazy Rich Asians isn’t a one-hit wonder
Things are changing fast in Hollywood for Asian actors, and it’s about time, says Michelle Yeoh. The Malaysian-born actress, who made her name as a Hong Kong action heroine in the mid-1980s, stepped back into the international spotlight with her performance in Crazy Rich Asians, the hit romantic movie she credits for Asian performers’ increased opportunities in American film and television. “It’s been a long time coming, so let’s not make it a one-hit wonder,” Yeoh says in New York ahead of the release of her latest film, Last Christmas, a light romance inspired by the Wham! hit of the same name. “There have been changes in Hollywood, and you can definitely see more Asian faces on the screen
Actor’s death prompts debate over the ‘risky’ lives of TV stars in China
The sudden death of Taiwanese-Canadian actor and model Godfrey Gao has sparked a debate over the working lives of entertainers in China.  Gao died at the age of 35 due to cardiac arrest on Wednesday during the filming of hit reality show Chase Me, a sports challenge show produced by Zhejiang Television in eastern China.  Gao collapsed at 1.30am when he was running, according to a statement by the broadcaster. He was declared dead after being sent to a hospital in the major eastern city of Ningbo.  Gao’s death has shocked both fans and fellow actors in China. In response, a number of actors have hit out at what they call a toxic work culture, saying they are doing a “high-risk” job that ofte
Ethnic minority actress wins support in China for defying cyberbullying
Chinese feminists are voicing support for an ethnic Kazakh actress who’s trying to fight against cyberbullying by sharing the malicious comments she has received on social media with her five million fans.  Cyberbullying of female celebrities has become more widely discussed in China since 25-year-old South Korean star Sulli, who was unusually outspoken and struggled with online abuse, was found dead in her home last month.  Actress Rayza, an ethnic Kazakh born and raised in Beijing, is best known for acting in a number of popular period dramas. But the 33-year-old is also one of the most divisive figures on the Chinese internet due to her openness about her mental health struggles. She fir
Nurses share star’s medical waste online in case spotlighting fan culture
A hospital in eastern China has suspended 11 medical staff for leaking photos of medical waste, including a needle and drip bag, from Mando-pop star JJ Lin, in a case that highlights obsessive fan culture. Following a concert last Saturday, Lin visited the Zhenjiang First People’s Hospital in Jiangsu province after feeling ill, according to local media.  But after he was discharged, photos of the needle and drip bag used by him began circulating online. Some of the posts jokingly suggested the medical waste was for sale. Lin, 38, is Singaporean and sings mainly in Mandarin. He’s a multiple winner of Taiwan’s Golden Melody Awards. He was in Jiangsu for the latest leg of his Sanctuary 2.0 Worl