Happily ever after until the divorce

Updated: 2013-09-16 08:05

By Cui Jia, He Na and Wu Wencong in Beijing (China Daily)

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Reporters' behavior condemned as immoral

The crazed way in which reporters chased Faye Wong's car on the night the singer announced her divorce has reminded the public of the tragedy of Princess Diana and prompted a heated discussion about media ethics.

More than 100 reporters besieged Beijing International Airport shortly after the news of the divorce broke online on a rain-filled Friday. Wong herself was on a flight back to the capital from Urumqi in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, where she had signed the divorce agreement.

Most ended up empty-handed after Wong left via the airport's VIP exit. However, she failed to escape the notice of reporters from the online news portal Tencent, who chased her car at speeds of up to 130 km/h. At one point, after they drove in front of Wong's car, forcing it to come to an abrupt halt, the photographers seized the moment to take snaps.

The news portal owned by Tencent Holdings, the world's third-largest Internet company after Google and Amazon, then posted their "exclusive reports" online, accompanied by photos showing a distressed and tearful Wong.

The reporters not only earned tens of millions of page views, they also attracted criticism for what some observers saw as an immoral and dangerous practice. Tencent apologized on Saturday.

"To be besieged by reporters is the price you always pay as a public figure. But isn't it crossing the line when you force others to stop their car? What if there had been an accident?" commented Lin Chufang, editor-in-chief of iRead magazine on his micro blog.

Lin Jie, a teacher at the school of journalism and communications at Wuhan University, said: "Do we remember the death of Diana? You can fight for the news, but your behavior can't threaten the security of others and trample on the feelings of the innocent."

Diana died in a car crash in Paris on Aug 31, 1997. An inquest in London partly attributed the accident to the paparazzi who were pursuing her car.

-Tang Yue

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