Qipao Parade


I’m still getting over jetlag and don’t feel like writing much. Instead, I’ll share this little qipao gallery of some of China’s famous female stars. (Note that there are 4 pages in all; the links to the other pages are at the bottom of the pages.) Notably absent is Gong Li. Also, page one is not the best of the lot.

I don’t explore these Chinese portals very much, but I was kinda surprised by some of the content put online when the media are “controlled” and the government tries to always keep a wholesome image. Some of the ones I’m talking about are the “leisure” section’s Christy Chung feature (quite bizarre, and revealing), the creative bust cover-up feature, and the Maxim gallery (gee, I wonder if Maxim’s getting those royalties…).

What’s the strategy here? Give people just enough of what they’re looking for on Chinese sites so they don’t go elsewhere and discover the immense wealth of information (AKA “porn”) out there on non-Chinese sites?

Seems to be.

Update: Micah in the comments has pointed out a similar gallery which has better, higher res images. Very nice.


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. heavy eye shadows scare me. i always wish i can find a perfect design and fit for myself. last time i went back to shanghai i bought one but i no longer like it.

  2. Da Xiangchang Says: June 9, 2004 at 4:02 am

    A lot of Chinese stars are hot, but also horrible actresses, especially Shu Qi. She’s vomitously bad! Zhang Ziyi’s alright, though she flares her nostrils too much when she’s pretending to be mad (her nostril-flaring is especially egregious right before her fight with Maggie Cheung in Hero). Zhao Wei’s alright, as is Maggie Cheung. The best Chinese actress remains Gong Li, I suppose, if for no other reason than the fact she could play a bunch of different parts competently, from a glam girl (Shanghai Triad) to a pregnant peasant (The Story of Qiu Ju).

    But the greatest actor in China remains a guy: Tony Leung (the short one, not the tall one). I’ve never seen an actor who can play so well so many different parts, from an unhappy homo (Happy Together) to a cuckolded husband (In the Mood for Love) to an irascible restaurant owner (Chinese Odyssey 2002) to a Vietnamese gangster (Cyclo). He can act equally well in dramas and comedies. I don’t know of any American actor who can match both his range AND his acting ability. Al Pacino and Jack Nicholson can match his acting ability, but not his range; Michael Douglas and Kevin Kline his range, but not his acting ability. Maybe Russell Crowe could match both Leung’s range and acting ability, but he’s never been in a comedy yet. Until then, I would have to say Tony Leung’s the best actor in the world.

  3. John:
    The strategy here is: money ! The more revealing the images on these web sites are, the more people will browse them. Check out the NASDQ stocks of SINA, SOHU and other Chinese portals for the last year, they doubled, tripled and quadroupled. I think the government just looks the other way as long as they don’t cross the line, and since there are no independent media to critisize these images, they will keep coming.

  4. Anonymous Says: June 9, 2004 at 8:32 am

    zhou xun is so cute and she’s played great bizarre roles in baober in love and hollywood hong kong. She would do well in a serious drama, i’d imagine. Very expressive face and has a lot of energy.

  5. Who’s the woman at the bottom of page 2? Anyone know ? (Use the Chinese and the English too, if you know it.)

  6. singer

    her songs are more traditional Chinese

  7. sorry, should not say traditional chinese

    just more chinese, can not find the right word.

    it is not really traditional. She usually sings on some formal events.

  8. Gong Li is actually not missing from Qipao gallery. That website just does not have her on it.
    try this site instead,

  9. Actually Mr Sausage, Shu Qi showed some good acting chops in Millenium Mambo and Viva Erotica. And she’s one of the few Chinese actresses who out there who can look sexy in a mysterious adult way, not some child-like “hao ke’ai!!” way.

    And I think you’re wildly overrating Tony Leung. Yeah, he’s got range, but he doesn’t have any complexity. He can do tortured/mopey and he can do romantic comedy happy, but that’s about it. He’s been good in a lot of great movies, but I don’t think he’s even as good as Leslie Cheung, let alone the true greatest actor alive in the world: Robert De Niro.

  10. Da Xiangchang Says: June 9, 2004 at 2:24 pm

    Robert DeNiro is the MOST OVERRATED ACTOR ALIVE! He plays the same goddamn character in every single movie:

    • Raging Bull: rude, chauvinistic boxer
    • Goodfellas: rude, chauvinistic gangster
    • Meet the Parents: rude, chauvinistic father

    When DeNiro plays ANY character outside his normally narrow roles, he’s just godawful, like in “Falling in Love,” where Meryl Streep wiped the floor with him. DeNiro’s like Nicholson and Tom Cruise: great actors when they play a certain part (cocky old guy or cocky young guy), but who have as much range as a Toys-R-Us watergun.

    And nothing DeNiro has done can compare with Tony Leung’s homosexual expat performance in Happy Together. There are those who say Leslie Cheung’s performance was better, but dude, Cheung was really homo whereas Leung’s just PRETENDING to be homo!!! Who do you think had the harder role?

    As for Shu Qi’s acting prowess–have you seen “The Transporter”?!!

  11. Da Xiangchang Says: June 9, 2004 at 2:27 pm

    As for the best male Western actors, here are my choices:

    • Kevin Kline
    • Michael Douglas
    • Russell Crowe
  12. “I would have to say Tony Leung’s the best actor in the world.”, fully agree, seems Da XiangChang knows Chinese movie well beyond just Jacky Chan.
    Strange that he got popular only recently.

  13. Reminds me of this gallery I ran across the other day:


  14. Anonymous Says: June 10, 2004 at 9:59 pm

    Couldn’t agree with mr. xiangchang more about De Niro. I think the critic’s boners over him stem more from his early (and considerable) promise than from his mature work. People don’t seem to notice that he plays the same role regardless of what kind of movie is going on around him. His acting skills never developed. I suspect he discovered early on that he could make himself rich playing his role, and create a kind of mistique by never talking to the press, and be both successful and loved by the critics even though he’s a cut rate actor (outside his one role).

    Allow me to throw out Gene Hackman’s name, like I alway do about this time, whenever people start talking about great actors that is.

  15. Micheal Douglas IMO always plays similar characters. Usually a man with some power or lots of power (Traffic, The Game, some others I can’t think of right now). Maybe I just haven’t seen any other movies with him in it. He’s a great actor though, I’ll give you that. He’s just always type-cast into that role though.

    I think the Western actor that might have the same range/depth as Tony Leung is maybe Johnny Depp. He’s been in so many different roles it’s not even funny, and he plays it well. Edward Scissorhands, Pirates of the Caribbean, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (he played Hunter S Thompson!), Donnie Brasco, etc.. Though I can’t think of any comedies. I think it’s hard for actors/actresses to cross over between comedy and drama roles…

  16. Da Xiangchang Says: June 11, 2004 at 7:34 am

    Michael Douglas has NOT always played the same role. You just haven’t seen enough of his movies. He has played a tycoon in various films, but he also has played exceedingly well:

    • a lovable pothead novelist (Wonder Boys)
    • a adulterer scared out of his wits (Fatal Attraction)
    • a brutal cop (Basic Instinct)
    • an alcoholic African hunter (The Ghost and The Darkness)

    He has played in comedies AND dramas. He’s multifaceted. Not as much as Kevin Kline (probably the American actor with the most range), but a lot better than DeNiro.

    Johnny Depp’s alright–but I don’t see him as a great actor simply because in a few movies he has been completely crushed by his costars, from Leonardo DiCaprio (What’s Eating Gilbert Grape) to Al Pacino (Donnie Brasco). Great actors never get steamrolled, and Depp has been repeatedly. He was great in Pirates simply because Orlando Bloom is such a mediocre actor, though I’d say Geoffrey Rush was just as good as Depp.

  17. While I would strongly disagree with you that Robert De Niro is overrated, it’s still an argument that I could entertain. That said, asserting that Kevin Kline (!) and Russell Crowe (!!!!) are the greatest Western actors alive ventures deep into the realms of lunacy. I don’t have anything against Kevin Kline, but I can’t think of any of his performances that will be remembered ten years from now. And Russell Crowe?!?! You want to talk about limited range, that’s Russell Crowe. The only things he can do are violent anger and nervous tics. Besides his role in The Insider, I can’t think of a decent Russell Crowe performance. Gladiator? A Beautiful Mind?? Please.

    De Niro on the other hand: Raging Bull, Mean Streets, Godfather II, Heat, King of Comedy, Once Upon a Time in America, Taxi Driver. The guy is a freaking legend. Are many of his roles similar? Sure. Maybe I’m biased because I really love gangster movies. But that’s like faulting Paul Newman for always playing suave guy or Grace Kelly for always playing a beautiful high-class woman.

    Favoring Kevin Kline over De Niro is plain silliness.

  18. Tony Leung Chu Wai is also my favourite actor and I thought he was awesome in “Infernal Affairs” part I. BTW, Shu Qi is Taiwanese, Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung are HK. Only Zhang Ziyi and Gong Li are mainland Chinese.

  19. Ji Xianzu Says: August 19, 2007 at 7:37 pm

    I think Andy Lau was better in Infernal Affairs.

Leave a Reply