Culture&Arts

Concerns missing Chinese actor Fan Bingbing has fallen foul of authorities

Concerns missing Chinese actor Fan Bingbing has fallen foul of authorities

Given the Chinese government's propensity for secrecy, there probably won't be any solid news until the matter is sorted out behind closed doors, and Fan pays up for her rumored tax transgressions and makes a contrite statement to the public.

Chinese actress Fan Bingbing is set to co-star in the upcoming thriller 355 alongside Jessica Chastain, Penelope Cruz and Lupita Nyong'o, but that's assuming they're able to locate her.

Last week, China's state-run Securities Daily said that Fan was "under control, and will accept the legal decision", several news outlets, including Taiwan News, reported.

In June, days before Fan disappeared from all public events and stopped posting on social media, the party's propaganda department, which plays a key role in media regulation and censorship, issued a notice chastising the film industry for "distorting social values", "fostering money worship tendencies" and encouraging Chinese youths to "blindly chase celebrities".

Latest reports from China claimed the "Queen of the Silver Screen" had been detained by Beijing over the tax evasion claims and is not likely to return to her acting career.

Other news outlets have for months speculated on Fan's whereabouts, and rumors circulated that she was living under house arrest, according to The Epoch Times, a USA newspaper focusing on China.

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The move came after leaked documents suggested that Fan had been involved with "ying-yang contracts", which allow stars to receive a hefty salary while submitting another, lower, official salary to the tax authorities.

According to the ranking list, only nine celebrities received a passing score of 60 per cent - including Bingbing's fiance, actor Li Chen.

But shortly after it was published, that report appeared to have been taken offline. Those reports haven't been corroborated, but media watchdog sites covering China have noted that the government seems to be censoring reports of Fan's disappearance. Her name is commonly associated with Chinese youths' newfound obsession with plastic surgery, and her aquiline nose and distinctive jaw line are said to be popular requests.

The 36-year-old has been China's highest-paid actress since 2013, Forbes reported last year.

Beijing Normal University has placed Fan last in an academic report ranking A-list celebrities on their social responsibility. Fan scored a zero out of 100.

While the host later retracted the accusation and Fan denied any wrongdoing, her subsequent silence has resonated far louder, igniting rampant speculation about what has become of one of China's most recognizable people.


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