One of the most famous actresses in China has disappeared without a trace amid an uproar over tax evasion by celebrities, reports CNN. Fan Bingbing, who is one of the country’s highest-paid and most bankable stars, has appeared in both Chinese and Western films, including the multibillion-dollar X-Men franchise. She has been seen in thousands of advertisements and her star power has been utilized to sell luxury brands like Cartier and Louis Vuitton. She was named China’s “most famous actress” by Time Magazine in 2015.
A quick summary of the Fan Bingbing scandal/disappearance with only CONFIRMED facts because I’ve been seeing so many rumors/lies/speculation that come from third party sources without any understanding of the Chinese entertainment industry: pic.twitter.com/XC7G1tWBB6
— C-Ent Translations (@CEntNews1) September 14, 2018
But the star has not been seen in public since early June, when she went to go visit a children’s hospital in Tibet. No official statement has been made about her whereabouts, or any potential criminal charges against the actress. However, people are concerned that she has been “disappeared” by the Communist Party, writes CNN, because top celebrities are forced to keep an inoffensive public profile in order to stay in the Chinese government’s good graces.
“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,” Fergus Ryan, a cyber analyst with the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, told CNN.
Imagine if Taylor Swift or Kim Kardashian disappeared for two months with no explanation, and it turns out the US government has been hold her in secret custody. That’s China. https://t.co/C9P4emxrjS
— Melissa Chan (@melissakchan) September 12, 2018
A contract Fan had signed was leaked on China’s social media in May. According to state tabloid Global Times, it showed that Fan had two different contracts, one for tax purposes saying she was paid $1.5 million and a separate, private contract for $7.5 million. This is a practice known in China as “yin-yang contracts,” a form of tax evasion where the first, smaller contract is reported to authorities while the larger one is treated as tax-free income, reports CNN. Fan’s team issued a denial at the time, but the actress has not been seen in public since the dispute.
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