Faye's divorce a publicity stunt?

Faye's divorce a publicity stunt?
Faye Wong and Li Yapeng

BEIJING - The story of singer Faye Wong and businessman Li Yapeng's split took a strange twist on Monday, after Urumqi civil servants said they had not handled the divorce.

But on Tuesday - amid online talk that the divorce was an elaborate publicity stunt - Li's assistant was reported as confirming that the divorce did take place in the former actor's hometown of Xinjiang.

A Weibo user named Yaba or Dumb, whose picture of the couple reading their divorce agreement went viral last week, also said the photo was taken at the people's court in Shayibak district in Urumqi, reported NetEase news portal.

The wild goose chase had begun because of the picture, which was posted online last Friday, the day Wong, 44, and Li, 41, announced their divorce.

The photo showed them seated on sofas in an office, going over documents. Next to them was a female official. Wong was in a burgundy outfit, which she was also wearing when she returned to Beijing that night.

Online speculation started that the Urumqi civil affairs bureau had given the couple special treatment and a separate room, said NetEase.

On Monday, the bureau said it had not handled the divorce, though it had married the couple in 2005.

Wong, born in Beijing, is a Hong Kong resident. Checks revealed that only three other offices in Xinjiang handle divorces involving residents of Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, and that none of them had processed the star's split.

Clouding the issue, her manager Katie Chan declined to confirm the divorce on Monday, saying: "No comment. Too many people are talking now."

Li also taped an interview with state television CCTV that day, speaking of love with tears in his eyes, said NetEase.

"The greatest value of love, I think, is being in love or having loved," he said. He added that love, whether it is in the past or present, is beautiful and that "if we can see this, the quarrels and conflicts in our lives aren't important".

However, Weibo user Yaba said "a lot of people in the courthouse" knew about the divorce, reported NetEase.

"Why should the media have to verify it? Too free? Turn the page, and let's have some quiet."

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