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“The Good Man in China” Banned for Being Too Beautiful

  ”She is like a flower bud in a cup of tea, gradually blooming, full of moonlight, and has no vulgar fragrance.” In 1929, German philosopher Benjamin interviewed Huang Liushuang, who was living in Europe, and praised her so much.
  Anna May Wong is the first Chinese movie star to break into Hollywood, and the first Chinese to have a star on the Los Angeles “Avenue of Fame”. This year marks the 100th anniversary of her first starring role in the movie “The Sea Is Gone”. Not long ago, the United States issued a quarter with her face on it. The Mint said Anna May “overcame many challenges and obstacles in her lifetime.”
debut

  Anna May Wong was born on Flower Street in Los Angeles in 1905. Her grandparents came to the United States from Taishan, Guangdong to make a living, and gave birth to her father, Huang Samxing, in a gold mining area in California. At the age of 19, Huang Samxing saved money and went back to Taishan to marry a wife and have children, but because of the implementation of the “Chinese Exclusion Act” in the United States, he could not bring his wife and children to the United States. He returned to Los Angeles alone and opened a laundry to make a living. His business was very successful. While supporting his old wife, he also married Li Gongtao, a local Chinese. His wife gave birth to 4 sons and 4 daughters for him. Huang Liushuang is the second child, 17 years older than the youngest brother.
  After Huang Liushuang was born, her mother hoped that she could “recruit a younger brother”, so she always wore a boy’s hat and dressed her as a “little prince”. Her later outgoing, confident personality has something to do with it. Since she was a child, she had to work in the store like other children and help deliver goods. When she was of school age, she entered a public school, but white students often stuck pins on her body, saying that it was “to test whether Chinese children can feel pain like white people”. She was forced to transfer to a private school run by Chinese.
  At the age of 9, Huang Liushuang walked into the cinema for the first time with tips from customers, and has been fascinated by movies ever since. She saved her lunch money to buy movie tickets and skipped school to go to the movies. As a result, she got stomach problems, and her father was very angry when he found out. But at this time, she has dreamed of a movie: “I saw a miracle in my dream: the exquisite and admirable Sun City shone with golden light, with white palaces and fragrant gardens. I walked on the white road, Dance lightly…”
  At the age of 14, Huang Liushuang “realized her dream” for the first time, as an extra in the movie “Red Lantern”. She told her parents that she wanted to drop out of school and become a movie star. The father resolutely opposed it and hoped that his daughter would marry a good family as soon as possible, but in the end he couldn’t hold back his daughter.
  In 1922, 17-year-old Huang Liushuang starred in the movie “The Sea Gone”. The film was screened in tens of thousands of theaters in the United States. Film critics praised Anna May Wong’s acting skills as “profound and restrained yet precise, reaching the level of a master.” At the age of 19, she played Tiger Lily in “Peter Pan”, and the film was well received in the United States, Europe, and Australia.
  Zhao Xiaojian, a professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, told the “Global People” reporter that Huang Liushuang’s love for movies stems from her confident and expressive personality, and is also related to the awakening of American women’s consciousness after World War I. The United States recognized women’s suffrage in 1919. Many women take an active part in social life. Encouraged by this, Anna May Wong hopes to find her place in the mainstream society through filmmaking. But she didn’t expect that this dream would be so difficult to realize.
ordeal

  Anna May Wong soon discovered that there was a “racist swamp” in Hollywood. In 1931, she asked in an interview with the US media: “Why are the Chinese on the screen always villains? Bloodthirsty, sinister, and snake-hearted. We Chinese are not like that. We have a civilization that is many times older than Western civilization.”
  Zhao Xiaojian He said that in the era when Anna May Wong lived, Chinese and other ethnic minorities were regarded as inferior races. Huang Liushuang hopes that she can break the prejudice of American society against Chinese people who are “poor, weak, and ugly”. Unfortunately, her acting skills have been affirmed, but her role selection is still constrained by others. In “The Sea Gone”, the girl Lianhua she played rescued an American sailor, but was abandoned from beginning to end, and finally committed suicide by jumping into the sea. Zhao Xiaojian believes that this represents the stereotype of Chinese women in American society at that time as weak and submissive. In 1924, Huang Liushuang participated in “The Thief of Baghdad”, playing the coquettish “Mongolian slave girl”. On the screen, her eyes were full of horror when the protagonist held a sword against her bare back. This image satisfied the curiosity of Western audiences, but it also humiliated Huang Liushuang.
  Anna May Wong has also tried to play a positive Chinese role. In 1926, she participated in the first film “Silk Bouquet” invested by Chinese Americans. But the film was not released on a large scale, and not even a single poster or negative survived.
  Disappointed with Hollywood, Anna May Wong decided to go to Germany in 1928. She mastered German and French in a very short time and entered the Berlin social circle. On a summer night in 1929, Benjamin saw this kind of Huang Liushuang: “She combed her hair towards her forehead, and just used a strand of hair to form a low peak in the center of her forehead, so that her face showed the most standard Heart-shaped. Everything that is sincere seems to be reflected in her eyes.” Benjamin said that Huang Liushuang’s “innocence and lively character is not a disguise”, “The more sincere and passionate her love for tragedy, the more she loves tragedy in daily life. The more peaceful and positive life is. This healthy and charming girl will look at you with serious and friendly eyes, which makes it completely impossible to see that she is a movie star.”
  In Europe, Anna May Wong won fame with works such as “A Dream of Prosperity in Chinatown”. The opera “Chinese Dancer” she participated in was a great success. However, when she looked at the auditorium, she was always disappointed to find that there were no Chinese faces there. She sighed: “The more I learn, the more I miss China.”

In the famous work “The Sea Is Gone”, the girl Lianhua played by Huang Liushuang rescues an American sailor.

Anna May Wong won fame in Europe with works such as “A Dream of Prosperity in Chinatown”.

  After returning to Hollywood, Anna May’s desire to play a “real” Chinese character in the film was even stronger. In 1932, she hoped to participate in “Children” adapted from Chinese folk tales. This was one of the few films in Hollywood that positively described life in China at that time. The crew rejected it because she was “too beautiful to play a good Chinese guy”.

  In 1935, the filming of “The Great Earth” with a Chinese rural theme started. Huang Liushuang hoped to play the heroine Alan, but the director only wanted her to play a cunning concubine. After Huang Liushuang protested angrily, she refused to participate in the performance. The white actor who played Alan went on to win an Oscar. This hit Anna May Wong very hard. Zhao Xiaojian said: “Although she is an excellent actor, no matter how good she is, it is difficult to compete with white actors.”

“Good Friends” pictorial report on Huang Liushuang.
root search

  The repeated disappointments in Hollywood made Huang Liushuang yearn for distant China even more. In 1934, her father returned to Taishan to settle in Chang’an Village, his hometown. In 1935, she met Peking opera master Mei Lanfang during a performance in London, which sparked her passion for traditional Chinese opera. In the same year, she announced that she would “return to China”.
  On February 9, 1936, Huang Liushuang arrived in Shanghai on a passenger ship and began her long-awaited journey of finding her roots. She reunited with her family, went to Zhejiang, Guangdong and other places, met cultural celebrities such as Lin Yutang, and became friends with movie star Hu Die and American journalist Snow. She also directed a documentary “My Chinese Movie”, which records the life of ordinary people in China. The biographer of Huang Liushuang wrote: Although Huang Liushuang’s understanding of China is still fragmented, her recognition and support for China “is as sincere, eager and unwavering as ever.”
  On July 7, 1937, the full-scale war of resistance broke out. Huang Liushuang soon joined the American Federation for China Aid. After the “September 18th Incident” in 1931, she published an article saying: “Despite the ravages of the Japanese iron heel, the Chinese culture with pure morality and elegant spirit will surely overcome blood and violence and bloom again.” In order to support the War of Resistance, She donated the money from the auction of fashion and jewelry, and wrote and directed the drama “Inside the Barricades” that exposed the atrocities committed by the Japanese army.
  The heroic performance of Chinese soldiers and civilians in the Anti-Japanese War, as well as the Sino-US alliance during World War II, also made China’s image on the screen more positive. In this case, Huang Liushuang was able to play the image of a “heroine” in films such as “Myanmar Bomb” and “Mrs. Chongqing”. At the end of “Mrs. Chongqing”, the agent played by Huang Liushuang said before dying: “You can’t kill me, and you can’t kill China. The power of peace will eventually overcome the ruins and hatred and march towards victory!” Huang Liushuang donated all the film fees to China United Relief Society.
  In 1960, 55-year-old Huang Liushuang left her name on Hollywood’s “Avenue of Stars”. A year later, she died in her sleep.
  Zhao Xiaojian said that as a “traveler” of Chinese and American cultures, Huang Liushuang has always hoped to find her true identity. She longed to change the prejudice against the Chinese in the West, but found that she was powerless to decide her image on the screen, which was also the source of tragedy and pain in Huang Liushuang’s life. Despite this, Huang Liushuang still bravely broke apartheid and showed the world a talented, beautiful and moving Chinese image. This is one of Anna May Wong’s most important legacy.
  Anna May Wong is
  a Chinese-American movie star. Born in Los Angeles in 1905, he starred in the movie “The Sea Gone” and became popular in 1922, and went to Europe in 1928 to develop. In 1960, he stayed on the “Walk of Fame” in Los Angeles and died in 1961. .

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