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Faye Wong
Cantopop Diva
Ballads that bring people together

Faye Wong is often called the queen of Canto-pop. But that's not really an accurate description. While she's by far the most popular female singer in Hong Kong, the Beijing-born diva croons in Putonghua just as often as in Hong Kong's Cantonese dialect. And her appeal spreads far beyond Hong Kong. Wong's catchy love ballads ring out in even the remotest mainland provinces, as well as in Taiwan and Chinese communities throughout Southeast Asia. Often branded as icy and elusive, Wong, 30, has battled with the media ever since she shot to international fame in the mid-1990s. Her pregnancy, the birth of her daughter in Beijing, and her divorce from drummer Dou Wei were all covered extensively by the paparazzi. Though she initially tried to conceal the fact that she was pregnant, two Hong Kong newspapers went to court to fight for the exclusive use of a photo confirming that she was indeed with child. When Dou Jintong was born and quickly allowed into Hong Kong, gossip circulated that Wong was receiving favorable treatment. After all, many mainland applicants have to wait years for entry. Wong's career has weathered it all. With 25 albums, more than 50 awards and several film and TV acting stints, her popularity shows no sign of waning. She is held up as an example for mainland artists aspiring to expand beyond their home markets. For through her music, Wong has been able to do what many politicians can't: bring together people in Hong Kong, Taiwan and China, no matter what their political bent.

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Photo: Asiaweek Pictures