Zheng Shuang, one of China’s most popular actresses, is caught up in a surrogacy scandal after she and her boyfriend abandoned two babies while the surrogate mothers they hired were still carrying them.
Since shooting to fame over a decade ago, Zheng Shuang has been one of China’s most popular actresses. Zheng rose to fame in the Chinese TV series Meteor Shower, becoming the youngest actress to be nominated in the Best Actress category at the China TV Golden Eagle Awards. But Zheng has recently made headlines for another reason — one that has jeopardized the future career of the 29-year-old actress.
In January of this year, Zheng and her ex-boyfriend were exposed for allegedly abandoning two babies while the two surrogate mothers the couple had hired were still carrying them. Since coming to light, news of the abandonment has repeatedly aired in the media, causing anxiety for advertisers and any companies using Zheng in product endorsements.
As a result of the surrogacy scandal, Zheng Shuang has been censured by mainland China’s State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television (SARFT), and Beijing TV has moved to quickly cancel all cooperation with her, labeling her a “vicious artiste.” In addition, Zheng may be faced with paying over US$25.8 million in compensation to advertisers.
According to the latest report in Corporate Magazine, Zheng Shuang and her ex-boyfriend Zhang Heng contracted with the U.S.-based company West Coast Reproductive Center, where they hired two surrogates to carry their children. According to company head Liang Bo, the couple sought out the surrogacy center in the fall of 2018, signing a US$168,000 contract for surrogacy services. But following the birth of the two children, the couple failed to take custody.
If that wasn’t bad enough, the couple still owes the company an outstanding balance of US$68,000. Liang Bo stated that Zhen Shuang finally contacted him recently and has agreed to pay US$4,650 a month to settle the remaining debt. But she told Liang that she does not want the two children and refused to take them home to China with her. She instead asked Liang Bo to register the children under her name and asked that she be their guardian.
Upon hearing this, Liang Bo was shocked. She said that Zheng Shuang has the worst character of any customer the company has ever worked with. According to California law, the two children now have no father and no mother. Those children will be placed on a list and regarded as illegal immigrants.
Liang Bo went on to say that while Zheng Shuang is unwilling to provide her identity card or passport and admit the children are hers, it is useless for her not to admit it. The couple’s intentions and responsibilities are clearly spelled out in the contract with the company. Liang said: “Zheng Shuang must show her identity certificate and admit to the United States that she is the mother of the children and give the children an identity. Let the children go to China smoothly. Leave the rest to their families, and do not rely on our organization.”
According to LU Media, Zheng Shuang was filming on Beijing Satellite TV when news of the story broke. Prior to this, she’d won the 19th China Ding Award for Best Actress in a Chinese Modern and Contemporary TV Series, as well as the 13th National Audience’s Top Ten Most Favorite TV Stars, both of which are Huading Awards. In light of the surrogacy scandal, Huading announced a retraction of both awards.
Hong Kong’s Apple Daily reported that following SARFT blocking Zheng Shuang, the actress has since been blacklisted from all new dramas and programs. And after Beijing TV cancelled any cooperation with her, it has since announced that it will no longer broadcast anything related to the actress.
Zheng’s inability to do the right thing may cost her more than she’d anticipated. According to her “artiste work contract,” in the event that the artist has an issue that causes work to be terminated, the artist bears responsibility for any financial damages. It’s estimated that Zheng Shuang could face damages in the range of US$111 million.
Zheng Shuang owns four luxury homes totaling more than US$123.8 million, and has been on the Forbes celebrity list for three consecutive years. Now facing a total ban, Zheng’s career as an A-list actress has taken a devastating blow. Moreover, public outrage on Chinese social media continues and is mainly aimed at her lack of values and virtue. It appears that abandoning two small babies will not soon be forgotten by the media, TV, and film industry, or the public.
Translated by Chua BC and edited by T Denning