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Yao Chen Biography

Yao Chen is one of China's most popular actresses and one of the world's top micro-bloggers. With more than 48 million followers on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, she has been called "the Queen of Weibo" in recognition of her wide reach and powerful influence through social media.

Yao Chen was born in Fujian province in south-eastern China. She studied folk dance at the Beijing Dance Academy and acting at the Beijing Film Academy.

In 2002 she made her acting debut in the TV drama, "City Man and Woman" and became a household name with 2006's "My Own Swordsman." In 2008, she played an iconic guerilla leader in the popular series, "Undercover." Her stage debut came the following year, when she played a white-collar heroine in "A Story of Lala's Promotion."

In 2009, Yao Chen starred in the movie "Sophie's Revenge" alongside fellow Chinese actresses Zhang Ziyi and Fan Bingbing. Since then, she has averaged three movies a year and worked with internationally-acclaimed directors such as Chen Kaige and Feng Xiaogang. Her hit movies include "Colour Me Love," "If You Are the One 2," "Caught in the Web" and "Firestorm."

She has received acting accolades from China's Golden Eagles Awards, Golden Phoenix Awards, Chinese Film Media Awards and Hua Ding Awards, among others.

Since starting her work with UNHCR in 2010, Yao Chen has met with refugees in Hong Kong, the Philippines, Thailand and Ethiopia. Using her social media platform, she has helped to dramatically increase public awareness of refugee issues in the Chinese-speaking world. In June 2013 she was named UNHCR's Goodwill Ambassador in China.

Within China, the actress has been actively involved in many humanitarian activities to help the disadvantaged. She has advocated for the rights of migrant children, for animal rights and environmental issues. She has held charity auctions and Weibo fund-raising campaigns for beneficiaries such as the poor, disadvantaged children, rural villagers with eye diseases, and people affected by drought. For her humanitarian work, she has received awards from leading local magazines. In 2013, she was among four prominent personalities from China to be nominated to Time magazine's list of "100 Most Influential People in the World."

Yao Chen is married and has a son.