Skip to navigationSkip to content

Vancouver’s mayor is dating a Chinese pop star—and her mother has been arrested on corruption charges

Reuters/Mark Blinch
Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson (left) during the Canadian Federation of Municipalities “Big City Mayors” conference in Toronto in February.
Published This article is more than 2 years old.

Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson’s love life just got a little more complicated: Qu Zhang Mingjie, the mother of his pop star girlfriend, Wanting Qu, has been arrested by Chinese authorities on corruption charges.

According to Chinese state media (link in Chinese), Qu was detained this week, after having been sacked from her position at the Harbin provincial government in November over allegations of corruption in the sale of state assets.

Wanting Qu, 31, social-media-loving singer, was born in Harbin and is now based in Vancouver. She met Robertson, 50, while serving as the city’s tourism ambassador to China, and he confirmed their relationship with a selfie posted to the Chinese microblog Weibo on Valentine’s Day.

The singer has not said anything about the arrest, and Robertson’s office declined to comment about the case.

Here’s Wanting Qu and her mom, posted on Mother’s Day last year:

And here’s the happy couple:

Robertson has been criticized for his stance on China in the past. On a trip in 2010, he responded to questions about working with an authoritarian government by saying, ”You can question how worthwhile democracy is in a lot of countries right now” and went on to praise China’s environmental policies. Robertson later apologized for his “poor choice of words.”

📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.