After a mysterious, months-long absence following rumors of tax evasion, China’s highest-paid actress Fan Bingbing (X-Men: Days of Future Past) has been charged massive fines (exceeding $100 million) by the Chinese government for back taxes and has released a statement to the 61 million followers on her Weibo social media account:
“Without the Party and the state’s good policies, without the love from the people, there would have been no Fan Bingbing,” she said. “I failed my country which nurtured me; I failed the society which trusted me; I failed the fans who liked me,” the statement reads. Regarding the fines, she said, “I totally accepted all of them, and will raise funds to pay my taxes and penalties regardless of any obstacles.”
In September, we reported that Bingbing and her boyfriend, actor Li Chen, had not been seen in public since July. In May, she had been accused of using “yin-yang contracts” to report lower wages to tax authorities than what she had been paid. The day before most outlets noted her absence in September, a Chinese state-funded university labelled Bingbing “not socially responsible” in a ranking of Chinese celebrities. A week after she was widely reported as missing in English media sources, she made her first public appearance in months at a Carl F. Bucherer flagship store opening ceremony.
On Wednesday, China’s state news outlet Xinhua reported Bingbing will not be charged criminally if she can pay a total of 734 million RMB ($107 million) for back taxes ($37 million) plus fines (a staggering $70 million). Multiple news outlets in China are claiming she owes even more, with 880 million RMB ($128 million) being a total often bandied about.
The report also stated that one unnamed person at Bingbing’s company has been taken into custody for destroying documents. Ominously, the report included a warning for other “film and television enterprises and related employees” who may have committed tax evasion. The report said if they have paid all taxes by December 31st of this year they “shall be exempted from administrative punishment and shall not be fined.” Considering the enormity of Bingbing’s fine and the popularity of ying-yang contracts in China, there’s likely to be a large number of celebrities, directors, etc. trying to come up with some extra cash over the next few months.
(Via The Hollywood Reporter)