Chinese Actress Vanishes into Thin Air
Internationally recognised Chinese actress Fan Bingbing has gone missing this summer, her latest known location being at a children’s hospital in Tibet on July 1, according to TIME. The actress, renowned for her role in the X-men and Iron Man 3, as well as her strong media presence in China as a model and singer, is admired by many worldwide.
As a collateral effect to her internationally acclaimed success, the actress reportedly earned 7.5 million dollars (equivalent to 50 million yuan), a source of concern in China, a country founded on communist principles.
"If you are a billionaire, then that is something that obviously you can enjoy to a certain extent, but you've got to be very, very wary that you don't at any stage cross a red line of some sort and fall afoul of the Chinese Communist Party," remarks Fergus Ryan, a cyber analyst for the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.
De facto, Fan Bingbing had been accused of tax evasion by a state tabloid Global Times, allegedly adhering to a Yin-Yang contract. Supposedly, this practice entails a false (lower) declaration of one’s income for tax purposes, and a second hidden actual amount of yearly income. The bifaced contract thus enables the individual to pay a very constricted amount of tax to the government, a significantly limited portion of what he/she ought to pay.
Immediately, the actress’ team denied all claims of tax evasion, after which Fan has been absent from the public scene ever since.
Shortly after his accusations, the Chinese television host Cui Yongyuan apologised to Fan and withdrew his claims in June. However, despite his attempts to clear the actress’ name, the State Administration of Taxation of China felt alarmed, pressuring further investigations to be carried out on the Country’s film industry and Yin-Yang contract allegations.
As announced by the Chinese government, "If violations of tax laws and regulations are found, they will be handled in strict accordance with the law."
Furthermore, Fan Bingbing’s public image was further damaged upon the release of the latest China Film and Television Star Social Responsibility Report, which associates her with a minimum score of 0%. Published by Beijing Normal University, the report either praises celebrities for their “strong role model” contributions, or scorns them for “negative” impacts on society. Based on three essential criteria, namely professional work, charitable actions, and personal integrity, Fan’s low results are yet another indicator of a potential conflict with the Chinese communist ideals.
What is perhaps the most intriguing, is the lack of outcry regarding her missing status on China’s numerous tabloids. Other than her personal fans attempting to reach out and obtain signs of life from the actress’ Sina Weibo account (China’s Twitter equivalent) with nearly 63 million followers, Fan Bingbing’s disappearance seemingly ignored by various Chinese media platforms serves as further evidence that confirms the government’s potential involvement.
Some sources, wishing to remain anonymous in light of this topic’s sensibility, commented that "almost every contract has some irregularities", implicitly suggesting that the star’s removal may be a drastic action intended to warn other tax evading celebrities — a hidden threat aimed at the upper-class Chinese.