Why Do People Hate Zhang Ziyi?

Zhang Ziyi is one of China’s most famous actresses. She has starred in numerous popular films like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Memoirs of a Geisha, and The Grandmaster.

However, despite her success, Zhang Ziyi has also faced significant backlash and hatred from some people over the years. There are a few key reasons why the actress seems to be so polarizing.

Her A-Lister Status

Zhang Ziyi’s Rise to Fame

Zhang Ziyi became famous in the late 1990s and early 2000s through her roles in major Chinese films like The Road Home and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The latter film was an international hit, winning multiple Academy Awards.

After gaining global recognition, Zhang worked on other high-profile projects like Hero, House of Flying Daggers, and Memoirs of a Geisha. She became one of China’s first A-list celebrities.

Resentment Towards Her Privilege

As Zhang Ziyi’s fame, wealth, and status grew exponentially, many people came to resent the privileges she enjoyed as an A-list star. For instance:

  • She commands very high fees for her film roles (up to $13 million per movie).
  • She lives a glamorous lifestyle beyond the means of ordinary citizens.
  • She has access to luxury goods, designer clothes, fine dining, etc.
  • She travels the world and attends exclusive red carpet events.

Ordinary people who struggle to make ends meet understandably feel envious and antagonistic towards her elite privileges. This breeds an animosity directed at celebrities like Zhang.

Her Controversies and Scandals

Tax Evasion Accusations

In 2013, Zhang was accused of tax evasion by Chinese authorities. Reportedly, she had underreported her earnings by hiding contracts worth $1.6 million. While Zhang denied intentional wrongdoing, this legal issue damaged her reputation in China.

Feng Xiaogang Lawsuit

In 2006, Zhang sued acclaimed Chinese director Feng Xiaogang for violating a contractual agreement. Their falling out caused a backlash against Zhang for being demanding and difficult.

Other Controversies

Zhang has also faced other controversies over the years related to:

  • Rumored romantic affairs
  • Demanding behavior towards co-stars and crew
  • Legal issues with management agencies

These repeated scandals have painted Zhang as arrogant, temperamental, and high-maintenance. Rightly or wrongly, it led to public disdain.

Issues of Character and Integrity

Perceived Lack of Loyalty

After finding success in Hollywood, Zhang seemed to pivot away from Chinese culture and fans. For instance, by taking roles like a Japanese geisha that were seen as inappropriate. This apparent rejection of her roots caused significant backlash in China.

Focus on Fame Over Art

As Zhang gained more fame, she seemed to prioritize box office hits and blockbusters over artful and meaningful Chinese films. This led to accusations she had become greedy and only cared about money/fame, not creative integrity.

Diva Persona

Stories of Zhang making lavish demands and exhibiting rude behavior on set reinforced the idea she was a narcissist who had lost touch with everyday people. Whether true or not, this diva persona increased public distrust.

High-Profile Media Feuds

Chow Yun-Fat

In 2003, Zhang had a public feud with Hong Kong actor Chow Yun-Fat when he suggested she was too young and inexperienced to star in historical epics like The Purple Butterfly. Zhang saw the comments as sexist and insulting.

Hong Kong Media

Zhang has also feuded extensively with the Hong Kong tabloid media, which relentlessly sensationalized her scandals and controversies over the years. These battles added to her reputation as being argumentative and thin-skinned.

Banned in China

At various points, Zhang’s films have been banned/boycotted in mainland China due to her political stances and controversies. These issues enhanced public polarization around the star.

Is the Zhang Ziyi Hate Justified?

While Zhang has undoubtedly made PR missteps over her career, the intense vitriol directed her way also reflects wider issues like misogyny, celebrity culture, and public envy. Both factors seem to fuel the surprising animosity this global acting icon faces.

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Table on Zhang Ziyi’s Most Notable Films

The Road Home1999Breakthrough role in China
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon2000International hit that made her globally famous
Hero2002Blockbuster wuxia film
House of Flying Daggers2004Stylized martial arts drama
Memoirs of a Geisha2005Controversial role as a Japanese geisha
The Grandmaster2013Wong Kar-wai biopic on martial artist Ip Man


In summary, Zhang Ziyi elicits strong reactions from both fans and detractors. Her incredible rise, A-lister lifestyle, scandals, and perceived vanity seem to fuel a fair degree of public resentment.

However, Zhang also retains a loyal global fanbase dazzled by her undeniable acting talent. Her story reflects the complexities of modern celebrity, where star privilege coexists uneasily with mass envy. For better or worse, Zhang lives her life in the harsh glare of the spotlight.

Frequently Asked Questions about Zhang Ziyi’s Public Perception

Why do some Chinese dislike Zhang Ziyi?

Some Chinese people dislike Zhang Ziyi due to resentment about her wealth/privilege, controversies about her character, and perceptions she became too pro-Hollywood.

What scandal made Zhang Ziyi so famous?

Zhang became globally famous for her role in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. But tabloid scandals increased her publicity.

Is Zhang Ziyi banned in China?

No, but some of her films have been banned/boycotted at times over political stances and controversies.

Is Zhang Ziyi rude to fans?

There are some reports of Zhang having diva behavior around crew. But accounts of her interacting with fans are generally positive.

Why did Zhang Ziyi sue Chow Yun-Fat?

She sued him for comments seen as sexist about her being too young to star in historical dramas.


[1] Lee, V. (2017, May 16). Why Some Mainland Chinese Hate Zhang Ziyi. The Blonde Abroad.

[2] Frater, P. (2013, May 13). Zhang Ziyi To Pay Fine For Tax Evasion. Variety.

[3] Lum, A. (2006, August 14). THE ZHANG FILES: PART II. New York Post.

[4] Handel, J. (2009, May 19). Zhang Ziyi Lives the High Life. The Hollywood Reporter.

[5] Frater, P. (2016, July 19). Zhang Ziyi Signs With CAA (Exclusive). Variety.

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