Chinese netizens angry at Gong Li for wearing Adidas, point out that she's not a Chinese citizen

Some netizens perceived the action as "insulting China".

Jean Chien Tay | September 17, 2021, 06:51 PM

Follow us on Telegram for the latest updates:

Chinese-born actress Gong Li, who's a Singapore citizen, is the latest celebrity to draw the ire of Chinese netizens, after she appeared to wear a white top from Adidas in a photoshoot with Vogue magazine's Chinese edition.

Commenters on Chinese social media site Weibo called for boycotts of the actress in China, accusing her of insulting the country, and pointing out that she was no longer a "Chinese citizen".

Screenshot via Weibo

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Gong gave up her Chinese citizenship to become a Singaporean citizen in 2008, a move that was criticised by Chinese netizens at the time.

Although her outfit did not feature any Adidas logo, social media users noticed that the brand was included in Gong's outfit credits on Weibo.

Adidas boycotted due to stance on Xinjiang cotton

Adidas was one of the brands that faced backlash from Chinese social media users, after their refusal to use Xinjiang cotton due to concerns of alleged forced labour came to light.

In the wake of the controversy, over 30 celebrities issued public statements to denounce the brand, including K-pop boy group GOT7's Jackson Wang and popular Uyghur actress Dilraba Dilmurat.

Subsequently, Dilmurat and Hong Kong singer Eason Chan both terminated their collaboration with Adidas.

Chinese netizens mention Gong's "deliberate" use of Adidas

On their Weibo, Vogue wrote that the project with Gong took 150 "days and nights", with the concept undergoing several rounds of change.

Vogue's post mentioned that there were three sessions of costume testing, featuring 200 “high-quality and customised" dresses and accessories.

According to a netizen's screenshots of Vogue's article, Gong had set aside a day to decide on all the details of her outfits for the photoshoot.

via Weibo

Hence, Weibo users drew the conclusion that Gong had deliberately chosen to wear Adidas, even though the brand is perceived to be "insulting China", according to entertainment news site Lujuba.

Angered, Chinese netizens said Gong "went too far" for choosing to don an Adidas outfit.

A commenter also referred to Gong as a "Singaporean banana", and called for Gong to be banned from doing business in China.

At the time of writing, negative comments under Vogue's post could no longer be found, and searches on the topic on Weibo did not yield any results.

No word from Global Times

Chinese state-controlled media Global Times (GT) and news aggregator Sina had covered Gong's Vogue photoshoot without mentioning the controversy.

Meanwhile, GT published an article on Sep. 14 praising Gong's "red velvet cheongsam" outfit at the Met Gala, designed by Italian fashion designer Roberto Cavalli.

In the article, GT added that Chinese netizens "roasted" Kim Kardashian's outfit at the Met Gala, which saw her covered from "head to toe".

Other Weibo users posting about Adidas

On the other hand, Weibo users did not seem to take offence at other posts about Adidas on the social media site, with an influencer lauding Adidas' latest launch and calling for her 340,000 followers to go visit Adidas' concept store.

The influencer's post appeared to be well-received, with netizens praising Adidas' concept store and the design of their new releases.

Related stories:

Follow and listen to our podcast here

Top image via Weibo