Vancouver Mayor Dating Chinese Pop Star
When the name of Haitian import Michaelle Jean, married to a White husband, was proposed to then Prime Minister Paul Martin for Governor-General, he gushed with enthusiasm. She was the perfect symbol of the New Canada, a foreigner in a mixed race relationship, to replace the then Governor-General, Chinese import, Adrienne Clarkson, married to a White husband.
Promoting mixed race relationships is a key part of the plan to replace the European founding/settler people of this Dominion.
Thus, it comes as little surprise to learn that Vancouver’s oh-so trendy Mayor Gregor Robertson now has a Chinese girlfriend,
named Wanting Qu.
The Hongcouver Blog by Ian Young on the South China Morning Post (January 14, 2015) website reports the story and contains some interesting factoids about Vancouver, Canada’s most miscegenated city.
“She has also helped develop the mayor’s substantial social media following in China (he has more than 88,000 followers on Weibo; Qu has 1.5 million) in various ways.”
“For a start, Vancouver has the highest rate of mixed-race unions in Canada, according to a 2010 Statistics Canada report, based on 2006 census results.”
“It’s true that ethnic Chinese have one of the lowest rates of mixed race unions in Canada: Only 12.7 per cent of all ethnic Chinese in couples in Canada had partners of another race. Compare that to, say, 74.7 per cent of ethnic Japanese”
“And because Chinese immigration has been growing so rapidly, the proportion of ethnic Chinese in Canada who are foreign-born – 72 per cent according to the 2001 census – is far higher than for most other ethnicities.”
A screenshot from the Chinese Youku video-sharing site, in which Wanting Qu sings “Happy Birthday” to Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson, when he turned 50 in September. Photo: Youku
Vancouver’s ridiculously photogenic mayor, Gregor Robertson, has a new girlfriend, the mainland-Chinese-born pop star Wanting Qu.
First, some background and a disclaimer: I reckon the relationship is worth scrutiny for at least a couple of non-prurient reasons, not the least of which is that Robertson’s own PR team put his private life front and centre last summer at the start of his re-election campaign. This was ostensibly in response to some pretty wild rumours circulating about the married mayor’s private life which remain unfounded; the excellent reason that they have not been repeated by the mainstream media is that there is no reason to believe that they are true.
But Robertson’s campaign team didn’t have to respond the way they did, with a full-court-press that included the release of a private email from a political opponent to the mayor (CCed to a fellow councillor) that recounted some of the rumours. Now, Vancouver’s mainstream media has its faults – but an over-willingness to poke about the private lives of its politicians is not one of them, and I find it difficult to believe that these rumours would have been printed without the intervention of Robertson’s own people.
The upshot was that Robertson’s separation from his wife, Amy, was confirmed to the general public in prominent fashion.
Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson and Wanting Qu in an image posted by Qu to social media before their relationship became public knowledge. Photo: Twitter
Another reason the mayor’s relationship with 31-year-old Qu, who is based in Vancouver, deserves at least some examination is her paid position as the city’s Chinese tourism ambassador. She has also helped develop the mayor’s substantial social media following in China (he has more than 88,000 followers on Weibo; Qu has 1.5 million) in various ways. These included a bikini-clad shout-out to the mayor in August, when Qu undertook the ALS ice-bucket challenge.
A month later, she did a ‘Marilyn‘ and sang happy birthday to the mayor on the Chinese Youku video-sharing site when he turned 50 in September. She also attended the mayor’s inauguration in December and both spent the holiday season in Hawaii.
Neither the mayor nor Qu are commenting directly on the relationship (first reported by the Globe and Mail’s Frances Bula last week), and that’s their prerogative. Qu on Sunday obliquely observed on Instagram : “I have lived my life with integrity, strong morals and respect for the world. I believe in life you just gotta be who you are. And you’ll only attract those who are like you and live by the same values.”
There have been some sadly predictable racist remarks in various online forums. But asides from the public profiles of the presumably happy couple, their pairing represents nothing terribly remarkable. For a start, Vancouver has the highest rate of mixed-race unions in Canada, according to a 2010 Statistics Canada report, based on 2006 census results. The study found that 8.5 per cent of couples in Vancouver were in racially mixed unions, compared to the national average of just 3.9 per cent, Toronto’s 7.1 per cent and Montreal’s 4.4 per cent.
Wanting Qu’s ALS ice-bucket challenge, which she issued in August to Gregor Robertson, among others. Photo: YouTube
It’s true that ethnic Chinese have one of the lowest rates of mixed race unions in Canada: Only 12.7 per cent of all ethnic Chinese in couples in Canada had partners of another race. Compare that to, say, 74.7 per cent of ethnic Japanese (whose are the most prone to being part of a multi-racial couple, according to the census).
It might be tempting for some to think that this data therefore demonstrates a powerful romantic aversion among Chinese for other races (or, conversely, other races’ aversion towards Chinese) that makes Harbin-born Qu an oddity.
But closer examination will show otherwise. Over all, minority members born overseas were far less likely to be in a mixed couple than Canadian-born minority members (12 per cent to 56 per cent). It’s obvious when you think about it: People who immigrate tend to do so as adults, and as such are more likely to have formed a relationship in their former homelands. The effect is particularly pronounced among ethnic Chinese in couples, only 6 per cent of whom were in mixed unions if they were born outside Canada. But among ethnic Chinese born under the maple leaf, that rate soars to 54 per cent. In other words, most Canadian-born Chinese in couples had a non-Chinese partner.
And because Chinese immigration has been growing so rapidly, the proportion of ethnic Chinese in Canada who are foreign-born – 72 per cent according to the 2001 census – is far higher than for most other ethnicities. Among ethnic Japanese, only 23 per cent were born outside Canada (2001 census).
Another factor is likely at play in reducing the general likelihood of mixed race unions among Chinese, and that’s the sheer scale of the ethnic Chinese community. Members of smaller minorities (such as Japanese) simply don’t have as large a pool of potential romantic partners of the same ethnicity, regardless of any supposed race-based romantic preferences.
All of which goes to show, in a roundabout way, that racial romantic pre-determinism is a pretty wobbly concept at best. Black or white, Chinese or not, mayor or pop singer, the heart wants what the heart wants. The Hongcouver blog wishes Robertson and Ms Qu the very best.
The Hongcouver blog is devoted to the hybrid culture of its namesake cities: Hong Kong and Vancouver. All story ideas and comments are welcome. Connect with me by email firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter, @ianjamesyoung70