Why Do People Hate Gong Li?

Gong Li is one of the most famous and acclaimed Chinese actresses in the world. She has starred in many critically acclaimed films and has won numerous awards for her acting.

However, despite her immense talent and success, Gong Li has also attracted a fair share of haters and critics over the years. In this article, we will explore some of the main reasons why certain groups of people seem to dislike or even hate the actress Gong Li.

Reasons for Disliking Gong Li

Her Association with the Chinese Government

One of the main reasons why some people dislike Gong Li is her close association with the Chinese government and the Communist Party. Gong Li has often openly supported the Chinese government’s policies and positions.

For instance, she performed at the controversial 2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony which was seen by some as an endorsement of the Chinese government’s oppression in Tibet.

She was also part of other propaganda-like events organized by the Chinese government over the years. This has led some to criticize her for being a “puppet” of the Chinese Communist Party and its authoritarian regime.

Perceived Arrogance and Attitude

Another oft-cited reason for disliking Gong Li is her perceived arrogance and diva attitude. There have been reports of the actress making unreasonable demands and throwing tantrums on set throughout her career.

She has been accused of being difficult to work with by some directors and co-stars. While these could be exaggerations, it has still shaped a public image of Gong Li as being arrogant and demanding, which puts some people off.

“Selling Out” to Hollywood

When Gong Li started gaining international fame and landing roles in Hollywood films like Memoirs of a Geisha in the 2000s, some people in China accused her of “selling out” and forgetting her roots.

She faced criticism that she was pandering too much to Western audiences and chasing fame and riches in Hollywood at the expense of Chinese cinema. This also contributed to perceptions of her being arrogant and lacking patriotism or loyalty to her homeland.

Becoming Too Commercial

As she took on more blockbuster films and endorsement deals, Gong Li was also accused of becoming too commercial and diluting her acting credentials. She was criticized for starring in movies like Miami Vice and Shanghai which seemed to prioritize style over substance.

Purists believe she wasted her acting talent by featuring in such big-budget commercial movies compared to the more serious arthouse films she began her career with.

Controversies Related to Her Personal Life

Gong Li’s much publicized personal relationships and marriages have sometimes also landed her in controversies and attracted criticism from more conservative sections of society.

Her being in relationships with high profile men like Singaporean business tycoon Li Ka-shing and Chinese government official Ni Zhen generated plenty of gossip. She was perceived by some as using her beauty to “seduce” powerful men rather than relying solely on her acting talent.

Counterarguments – In Defense of Gong Li

However, it is not fair to judge Gong Li too harshly for many of these criticisms. Here are some counterarguments in defense of the acclaimed actress:

  • She has limited control over her association with the Chinese government. As a Chinese citizen living under authoritarian rule, she has to be careful about publicly opposing the government. Refusing to attend propaganda events could put her entire career at risk.
  • Her so-called “arrogance” could just be a strong sense of self-worth and determination to succeed in a ruthless industry. She is likely unfairly portrayed as “difficult” for simply refusing to be pushed around on set.
  • Starring in Hollywood films expanded her opportunities and brought Chinese cinema to wider audiences globally. She can’t be blamed for seizing chances to work with top directors like Spielberg and Coppola.
  • Commercially successful movies like Miami Vice also show her versatility as an actress able to pull off different roles convincingly. She balances art films with commercial films quite well.
  • She is a victim of sexist double standards about personal relationships. Her high-profile relationships should not detract from her immense talent and acting skills.

So while Gong Li’s strong personality and some controversies may have created certain misperceptions about her, she remains one of China’s most renowned acting icons. Her extraordinary talent and screen presence continue to captivate audiences all over the world.

Why Do Certain Groups Dislike Gong Li?

Chinese Dissidents and Pro-Democracy Activists

Many Chinese dissidents, pro-democracy activists and opponents of the authoritarian Communist Party dislike Gong Li due to her close association with the government.

They view her as a puppet used for propaganda by the regime. Her performances at state-sponsored events earn her the most hatred from this segment.

Old School Cinephiles and Arthouse Movie Fans

Fans of serious Chinese arthouse films often dislike Gong Li for “selling out” to Hollywood and starring in commercial blockbusters.

They believe she has wasted her immense acting skills on frivolous movies after gaining fame, unlike other classically trained Chinese actresses.

Cultural Conservatives in China

More culturally and socially conservative Chinese audiences disapprove of Gong Li’s high profile romances, outspoken personality and “overseas behavior”.

They expect Chinese female stars to be demure and loyal to homeland. Her glamorous persona doesn’t fit traditional Chinese values.

Younger Generation of Chinese Actresses

Upcoming younger Chinese actresses trying to make their mark in cinema view Gong Li as unwanted competition. Her longevity at the top and tendency to land the best roles frustrates young aspirants who feel overshadowed.

Sexist, Misogynistic Audiences

Like many successful female stars, Gong Li also has to deal with irrational hatred and criticism based in deep-rooted misogyny. Her confident personality and perceived “arrogance” goes against expectations for how women should behave in society.

Political Opponents of Her Romantic Partners

Parts of the Chinese public associate Gong Li with the influential politicians and businessmen she has had relationships with. Political opponents of these powerful men sometimes channel their hatred onto her by extension.

Positive Associations and Perceptions of Gong Li

However, Gong Li does enjoy immense popularity globally for her acting and star power. Here are the main positive perceptions about her among the general public:

Supremely Talented Actress

Even critics acknowledge Gong Li is one of the most naturally gifted actresses in Chinese cinema history. Her performance range, expressiveness and screen charisma make her performances unforgettable.

International Star Promoting Chinese Culture

She is credited with introducing Chinese cinema to international audiences and promoting cultural exchange. Her crossover appeal brought worldwide recognition to China’s entertainment industry.

Fashion and Beauty Icon

Gong Li’s sense of style and glamorous beauty makes her a perennial fashion icon. She is frequently on “most beautiful women” lists and commands high-profile luxury endorsement deals.

Philanthropic Work

Gong Li devotes time and resources to various philanthropic causes like disaster relief and poverty reduction. This generates goodwill and offset some of the hostility around her personal image.

Standing Up to Ageism

Her thriving career in her 50s, in an industry notorious for discarding older women, is praised as an inspiring victory over ageist attitudes. She has broken stereotypes of “expiry dates” for Chinese actresses.


In conclusion, while Gong Li’s close affiliation with the Chinese regime, scandals related to her personal relationships, perceived vanity and allegations around her on-set behavior have fueled resentment in some quarters, she remains widely admired around the world for her cinematic brilliance and star presence.

The hostility often has more to do with her circumstances and China’s social climate rather than any lapses on her part. Overall, Gong Li’s extraordinary talent and global fame significantly outweigh the controversies surrounding her public image.

She has undoubtedly cemented her status as one of the greatest Chinese actresses of all time.

Frequently Asked Questions about Why People Hate Gong Li

What are some of Gong Li’s most acclaimed films?

Some of Gong Li’s most critically acclaimed films include Raise the Red Lantern, To Live, Curse of the Golden Flower, Farewell My Concubine, Miami Vice, Memoirs of a Geisha, and Coming Home.

How many awards has Gong Li won for her acting?

Gong Li has won numerous prestigious awards throughout her career, including three Hong Kong Film Awards for Best Actress, two Golden Rooster Awards for Best Actress, and the Volpi Cup for Best Actress at the Venice Film Festival.

Is Gong Li associated with the Communist Party of China?

Yes, Gong Li has often been closely associated with the Chinese government and Communist Party throughout her career. She has appeared in propaganda films and performances sponsored by the regime.

Why do some say Gong Li “sold out” to Hollywood?

When Gong Li started doing major Hollywood films like Miami Vice and Memoirs of a Geisha in the 2000s, some in China accused her of chasing fame and fortune in the West at the expense of working in Chinese cinema.

What are some controversies related to Gong Li’s romantic life?

Gong Li’s relationships with powerful men like Singaporean businessman Li Ka-shing and government official Ni Zhen generated gossip. Her personal life has faced scrutiny in Chinese tabloids and media.

How has Gong Li helped promote Chinese culture internationally?

By becoming a global star and the face of Chinese cinema in the international mainstream for decades, Gong Li generated enormous interest in and goodwill for Chinese culture worldwide.

What philanthropic causes is Gong Li involved in?

Gong Li is associated with philanthropic work for causes like disaster relief, poverty reduction, and improving conditions for migrant workers in China. She has donated to various charities over the years.

How has Gong Li battled ageism in the film industry?

By sustaining her stardom and continuing to get lead roles even in her 50s in an industry notorious for discarding older actresses, Gong Li has been seen as triumphing over ageist attitudes.

Why do some dislike Gong Li’s cosmetic brand endorsements?

Some critics believe that by endorsing various luxury cosmetic brands and products, Gong Li promotes unrealistic beauty standards and consumerist values that some find problematic.

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