Fan Bingbing, the internationally renowned Chinese actress who has been listed as the highest-paid person on the Forbes China Celebrity 100 list every year since 2013, has issued a public statement for the first time since she disappeared from public view four months ago. According to state media, Fan’s statement was an apology to the Chinese government for committing tax fraud, and a warning to others in the television and film industry to acknowledge guilt or face similar consequences themselves.
“I have been through pain and suffering I have never had before. I have had deep and profound self-reflection. I feel shamed and guilty for what I have done,” wrote Fan, 37, in her first post to Weibo since June 2.
“Without the party and the state’s good policies, without the love from the people, there would have been no Fan Bingbing,” she added.
In May, retired state television Cui Yongyuan appeared to implicate Fan in a tax evasion scheme by posting photographs of two contracts for the 2003 film Cell Phone — one which was reported to authorities showing she was paid $1.6 million, and another that appeared to show that she was actually paid $7.8 million. According to The New York Times, these so-called “yin and yang” contracts are widespread both in the entertainment industry and across the country.
Fan’s abrupt disappearance, which had mystified her more than 62 million followers on social media, coincided with the beginning of inquiry into her alleged tax evasion in June as well as the announcement of a new policy that limited the salaries of actors in order to prevent celebrities from “distorting social values.” The investigation ultimately ruled that Fan and her production company had vastly underreported her earnings, and ordered her to pay nearly $70 million in unpaid taxes and penalties. The current location of Fan, who is arguably the most famous actress in China and achieved international recognition with her roles in the X-Men and Iron Man franchises, is still unknown.
Read the full story at The New York Times.