Chinese Celebrities Who Have American-Born Children

In a time of high political tension for China and its autonomous regions, many mainland Chinese celebrities have come forth to express their support and pride for the five star flag. But sometimes, it is better to just stay silent, as many Chinese celebrities have been under attack for having children born overseas, specifically in the United States.

CCTV host Dong Qing (董卿) came under intense media scrutiny when it was revealed that she went to the United States to have her children.

Xingxing, eldest child of Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi (章子怡) and singer Wang Feng (汪峰), was born in the United States in December 2015. Currently expecting their second child, it is said that the couple plan to move back to the United States to welcome the baby.

But Dong Qing and Zhang Ziyi are far from being the only Chinese celebrities who have American-born children.

Chinese actress Jenny Zhang (張嘉倪), best known for playing Xojam Chenbi in Story of Yanxi Palace <延禧攻略>, have two sons, both born in the United States. Jenny, a “flag bearer,” has professed support for the Hong Kong police on social media.

Kimi, eldest son of Taiwanese actor Jimmy Lin (林志穎) and model Kelly Chen (陳若儀), was born in Los Angeles in 2009. Jimmy said they chose to give birth in the United States for additional privacy.

Former CCTV journalist Chai Jing (柴靜), creator of the banned documentary Under the Dome <穹頂之下>, gave birth to a daughter in the United States in 2013.

Due to China’s restricting population control policies, Chinese actor Huang Bo (黃渤) and his wife decided to have their daughter in the United States in 2014.

Chinese actors who have children born in the United States include Stephy Qi (戚薇), Tamia Liu (劉濤), Crystal Huang (黃奕), and Wang Baoqiang (王寶強).

Renowned Chinese director Chen Kaige (陳凱歌) and his wife Chen Hong (陳紅) had their second son, actor Arthur Chen (陳飛宇), in the United States in 2000. Arthur has been in the industry since he was 10 years old, when he took on a part in his father’s film Sacrifice <趙氏孤兒>.

Jackie Chan (成龍) secretly wed Joan Lin (林鳳嬌) in 1982, and the couple welcomed their son, actor Jaycee Chan (房祖名), that same year in Los Angeles. Hong Kong actress Shirley Yeung (楊思琦) gave birth to her daughter Krystal Yeung (楊卓穎) in March 2013, in the United States.

Martial arts star Vincent Zhao (趙文卓) has four children, all born overseas. His first child, a son with his ex-girlfriend, was born in Canada in 2002. His first child with wife Zhang Danlu (張丹露), a daughter, was born in the United States in 2007. Their son was born in Hong Kong in 2011. In 2016, they welcomed their second daughter in Hong Kong.

Even Chinese athletes have children born in the United States. Retired gymnas Li Xiaopeng (李小鵬) married Chinese American woman Angel Li (李安琪) in 2010. The couple have two children: daughter Olivia and son Max, both born in Los Angeles. Retired NBA star Yao Ming (姚明), former athlete for the Houston Rockets and the most famous Chinese basketball player of all time, currently resides in the United States. His daughter Amy was born in Houston, Texas.


This article is written by Addy for

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  1. If Chinese celebrities are so patriotic and loyal to their country, they should never have had their children born overseas, in particular in the United States.

  2. I am Chinese-American and have heard of people coming to the States to give birth, so children get automatic citizenship. This in theory may help parents acquire U.S. citizenship faster (should they pursue that route), or at least be allowed to stay in the country. That is where the pejorative term “anchor baby” comes from. However, I have usually seen this occur with poor immigrants who seek a better life, so the fact that quite a number of successful Chinese celebrities appear to strategically give birth here is somewhat surprising. I mean, if they are already content with their lives in the good old motherland, why go to a foreign land and give birth there, and on top of that, why China’s main rival country?

    I am very surprised at some of the names listed, as I do not believe or recall them to have any ties to the U.S., whether it is living/studying abroad or having family members here. This makes me wonder if they had visited illegal maternity hotels that can be found in major cities’ Chinese communities (look it up, they exist). It is a very unscrupulous idea to say the least. In addition, it is not fair to the children themselves, if the Chinese celebrity parent(s) somehow decide to have them alternate back and forth between China and the United States. I have heard that this occurs to immigrant Chinese children and that it messes with their identity as they struggle to form a definitive one.

    I know this is different, but do people also find it hypocritical how some Mainland Chinese celebrities also flock to Hong Kong to give birth, if they have the chance? For example, Hawick Lau and Yang Mi’s daughter was born in Hong Kong (highly publicized), as well as Huang Xiaoming and Angelababy’s (also highly publicized); they are all accomplished and successful actors/actresses in the Mainland, so why not just choose that as their children’s birthplace? It is a practical choice, and yet they forego it. Then they go online and express how patriotic they are, all while ensuring that their children have foreign citizenship elsewhere. In the end, their so-called allegiance is actually quite bogus; they really should avoid voicing political opinion in the end.

    EDIT: I think someone should tell Mainland Chinese celebrities who intend on giving birth in the U.S. to hold that thought, because Donald Trump is determined to remove birthright citizenship outright, and the law has recently changed that even children born abroad to American parents are no longer guaranteed citizenship themselves.

  3. Although these Chinese celebs gave birth to their kids in the US prior to the current tensions, it still reeks of hypocrisy except for Jackie Chan’s son who changed to Chinese citizenship. No wonder these many of these stars get bashed by mainland netizens. As to the term ‘anchor babies’, it started when HK and Taiwanese women flocked to the US to give birth long before pregnant mainlanders followed suit.

    1. @msxie0714
      You could be right that “HK and Taiwanese women flocked to the US to give birth long before pregnant mainlanders followed suit”. However, Hong Kong and Taiwan have always been friends of the States, while China treats the US as their main rival country.

      1. @orchid123

        It would be more accurate to say that the US has always treated China as an enemy since the cold war days, except during the short period of detente after the opening of the Chinese market. After China got stronger economically and militarily, it was the US who treated China as the main rival/enemy. After all, the US will never allow any rising superpower to overshadow its dominant position.

      2. @orchid123 I agree with msxie0714 – US tend to treat any rising power as a threat to it’s dominance. They will ally you only if it serves its purpose. During the Nixon era, US seek out China to counter the USSR & India (whom USSR was friendly with). Now, look what has changed? US seeking out India and branding China as a threat.

    2. @msxie0714 I’m not sure about the official stats but I find HKers go to Canada, UK and Australia more to give birth especially before 1997 as HK was still part of the Commonwealth back then. Then after 1997, even larger amounts of HKers fled to foreign countries to give birth since they were unsure of the political status .

      1. @jaylee

        I recall from LA Times about hordes of pregnant HKers flocking to LA Hospitals stirring up resentment of local patients. With the current chaotic situation, we’ll probably see another mass exodus of HKers fleeing the chaos of their city.

      2. @msxie0714 basically slander Hk parents for being helicopter parents, and has nothing to do with our current topic? And to be quite fair, it’s not just HK parents that is a bit helicopter, but most Asian/Chinese parents in general. Don’t just brand it on HK

      3. @msxie0714 because your article single out JUST HKers. Atm, we are talking about the issue of celebrity anchor their children in western countries while faking their patriotism, while you linked an article that making HK parents look bad when the issue of helicopter parenting are basically fall on most Asian parents, not just HK or mainlanders.

  4. These practices are still ongoing. It will be a bigger problem for celebs that does it now in this tough times.

    1. @hohliu
      If Trump can’t stop them, they’ll face the wrath of c-netizens for sure! Even Chinese government officials are fearful of these ‘trolls’ who have bought down thousands of corrupt officials. It’s the power of the people at work.

      1. @msxie0714
        Though I never like Donald Trump or his acts , I think it will be an excellent idea for him to impose some new legislation to stop foreigners, in particular Chinese from Mainland as they hate the US, to get automatic citizenship for their babies born in the States.

      2. @orchid123
        Think about all the benefits and welfare that their children will enjoy after birth, but they don’t have any responsibilities as US citizens/residents to work for the country and pay their taxes there. The burden will then be shared the US local residents/citizens. What a shame!

        The same applies to Canada, England and Australia.

      3. @orchid123 you don’t get automatic citizenship by giving birth in Australia. You only do if one of the parents is PR. Or you must stay in the country until certain age and can’t leave during that time

      4. @littlefish You are right! It makes me curious to goggle which countries grant citizenship by birthright and Australia is not one of them. Here are the countries that recognize birthright citizenship*:
        Antigua and Barbuda/Argentina/Barbados/Belize/Bolivia/Brazil/Canada/Chile/Costa Rica/Cuba Dominica/Ecuador/El Salvador/Fiji/Grenada/Guatemala
        Guyana/Honduras/Jamaica/Lesotho/Mexico/Nicaragua/Pakistan/Panama/Paraguay/Peru/Saint Kits and Nevis/Saint Lucia/Saint Vincent and the Grenadines/Tanzania
        Trinidad and Tobago/Tuvalu
        United States/Uruguay/Venezuela.

        Obviously, ppl pick USA & Canada. Australia is a bit smarter at least, at least you have to stay how long and such instead of automatic birthing citizenship.

      5. @orchid123

        Many mainlanders actually like and admire the US but hate American foreign policy. Ex-President Reagan should’ve stopped HK and Taiwanese pregnant women from abusing the system way back then.

      6. @orchid123 why do you want him to impose legislation to stop in particular Chinese people? If they truly “hate” the US, then why would they want their kids to have citizenship there?

  5. It’s called pure and utter greed!. They try and be ‘patriotic’ by cutting ties with anyone with showing even slight negativity towards China. They earn all the money from China as they possible can. They think it’s more cool for their child to be born in the West so go out of their way to abuse their position with their riches. Same with the parents who send their children abroad. Some just to pretend to study and buy a degree cert and then come back. These are the same type of people who will bail one country and support another there are turns in events…..

    1. @jimmyszeto

      Yes totally. the uber wealthy ones (and with kids who can study) will also send them to private schools (buying culture and class they may not have) = > Ivy League. Others like the FOB (fresh off the boat) wealthy go around buying Lambos, Lotus, Ferraris and Maseratis (many in this city) – vroooming to high school with them. We even have Rolls Royce in this city, these days – existing on the same street with the (very common conventional by Vancouver standards) – Tesla, Beemer, Audi, Range Rover and Jaguar etc showrooms. The FOBs wear totally ridiculous stuff like those fur-lined Ferragamo mules. /// And for those who cannot study – the parents can also pull them out of one school(Vancouver) to another in another city (LA) to another in UK …. they have the moolah, the schools take them .

      1. @nomad822

        some expat HK celebs were just as guilty of the same things. Dodo Cheng bought a mansion in Vancouver that was mostly uninhabited because she lived mainly in HK. She also got into trouble for neglecting to pay local taxes. Nicolas Tse’s parents lived a typical HK noveau riche lifestyle during their years in Vancouver. Nicholas himself was a bad student and got shuffled around different schools from one city to another.
        It’s sickening that ‘communist’ China has produced so many who are aping the crazy rich of HK, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, US, Philippines, etc.etc.

      1. @hohliu I agree with your comment, and it is baffling how some Chinese would risk losing face to do just that. I am sure that everyone has heard of the U.S. college admissions scandal by now. It involved many rich/prominent parents, but because Hollywood celebrities were also involved in the cheating, that took attention away from other parents and their children. There was a Chinese national who made it seem like she got admitted to a top-tier school through hard work/dedication, spewing inspirational nonsense on her social media and fooling everyone, and then it turned out daddy actually bought her seat. The only reason Western outlets did not cover it was because the Hollywood actresses were at the center and took the brunt of the attention.

      2. @emerald5forever It did surprise me how such practice was exposed. They found the prefect face to front the scandal. I hope all other kids that was admitted by such means are kicked out of Uni.

  6. I live, play and work among PRC families in Vancouver – uber wealthy (like the Huawei types) and the low income.

    Among the uber wealthy – for yrs, many birth here, even buy $6 million homes (plus a few), Homes that they leave empty (when the kid is only 1) – for the grandkids’ to attend Kindy = > University.

    (Though imo – it’s kinda stupid. Compared to Asia – North American Education Standards are pretty sucky in public schooling. Grammer, Spelling, Math and Sc foundations are all sub-par. /// IF they have that kind of money – why not private schools?)

    It’s also a way out re: collecting multi-passports for ‘insurance’ in volatile China. Singapore is another popular PR destination – but harder to make the grade to be PR, compared to US and Canada.

    Many sit the 3 yr jail term in Vancouver (移民监 yi man kam in Cantonese or yi min jian-yu in Mandarin) … and leave.
    These days Canada has implemented an Empty Home Tax since last yr – which can be $20K for some (a client). But these folks don’t mind paying. At most, they get a trusted friend to live in there – for FREE, no rental.

    Canada is also finally waking up and also are stricter about addresses when it comes to renewal of Driver’s Licences – as some foot Medical, but are not here. /// Most declare NON-resident status these days, or switch to Citizenship.

    1. @nomad822
      It is not a matter of education only. It is the English language skill.

      I agree that North America has a pretty standard and relaxed education system compared to Singapore, Korea, Japan, China and even Hong Kong. It is very very competitive in Singapore, Korea and Japan. I am not sure of the ones in China. However, the standards of English languages skills (written, and spoken in particular) in the US, Canada, England, and Australia are surely higher than the countries in Asia. At least the parents hope their children to learn better English in these countries.

      1. @orchid123 That could also be it; I know my mom’s wealthy friend from Mainland China actually sent her two kids here to live with some ABCs, so they could learn English (I think her kids are studying in U.S. colleges now, and one may be going to London for graduate school).

      2. @orchid123 The richer Mainland Chinese I know in Singapore sends their kids to international schools, not local schools to circumvent the competitive educational system. The tuition fees are around SGD 40-50K per annum and not inclusive of school materials, uniforms and extracurricular activities’ charges.

  7. LMAO!! Do we really need to question their hypocrisy? Even Crystal Liu is the same. Few articles ago, she proclaimed support for HK police (implied: China) and she herself is still holding tight to her US citizenship. She went back to China since 2002 and she had plenty of time to switch back to China citizenship had she truly loved her country so much but why didn’t she?

    All these Chinese celebrities are nothing but money chasers. If China starts appropriating everyone’s wealth to be distributed to the poor, do you honestly think these celebrities are going to stay and give up their fortune?

    I have Chinese colleagues who talked about how great CCP is and still, they converted to Singapore citizenship. It’s a marvel how two faced these people are.

      1. @hohliu

        Money is a lure for the majority of people regardless of political affiliation. The only ones who aren’t greedy are people who live extremely simple and frugal lives out of choice or necessity. And they would be considered losers by the average person greedy for bigger paychecks or those coveting big profits in the stock market.

      2. @msxie0714 I know that anecdotes do not fare well in comments, but my grandfather actually turned down the opportunity to become a U.S. citizen when he was living in Los Angeles. He loved his motherland despite having lived through the Great Leap Backward and Cultural Revolution, so much that he refused a chance many others would have coveted and readily taken. He passed away years ago and is buried in LA, but to my knowledge he never actually changed his citizenship. If a man like my grandfather who had been poor his entire life refused citizenship, why aren’t these rich Mainland Chinese doing the same and retaining PRC citizenship as well? They just know how to boast their so-called loyalty but do not act on it.

      3. @emerald5forever

        Your grandfather stuck to patriotic principles – unlike the younger generation lured by material benefits. Although some might question why he didn’t live in China since he refused american citizenship. Wonder what he would think of HK loyalists like Denise Ho who has Canadian citizenship, and protesters wrapping themselves in British and US flags while singing the American national anthem?

  8. I’m sure to these celebs, having US born (or other country) children or even holding an US (or other country) citizenship is not necessarily unpatriotic to China or HK or Taiwan and so forth. They’re opportunists. They see the perks and exploit the flaw in the legal/citizenship system for self interests. In the end of the day, they live, pay taxes, dedicate their career/life/business and make other contributions to China. They care about China state of wealth fare far more than other countries even though they recognize and reap the countries. So at the end of the day, saying they can’t be patriotic because their children born in different country or their citizenship is of a foreign country is like comparing apples and oranges. Sure there are people who want to be or is a citizen of the said country they’re patriotic / root for. But to these rich and privileged people/celebs, citizenship is a business transaction, an insurance policy if you will. Their loyalty lies elsewhere

    Disclaimer: 1) I don’t favor anchor babies and 2) I too think US should change law on the subject to reduce abusers from rich to poor, from illegals to immigrants.

    1. @jjwong I guess it all comes down to human nature and our basic instinct to act on greed when opportunity strikes, no matter how badly they contradict our credibility and virtues.

      I cannot imagine anyone favoring anchor babies (extremely frowned upon), and I agree that U.S. immigration laws should be changed (they are broken right now).

    2. @jjwong agree! you can still love a country, but want a better life for yourself and your family. There’s nothing wrong with that. Quality of life and benefits are definitely better in some countries.

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