Chinese director Zhang Yimou fined S$1.5m for violating one-child policy

China fined acclaimed film director Zhang Yimou 7.5 million yuan (S$1.57 million) on Thursday, Jan 9, 2014, for having three children in violation of its country's strict one-child policy. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS
China fined acclaimed film director Zhang Yimou 7.5 million yuan (S$1.57 million) on Thursday, Jan 9, 2014, for having three children in violation of its country's strict one-child policy. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (REUTERS) - China fined acclaimed film director Zhang Yimou 7.5 million yuan (S$1.57 million) on Thursday for having three children in violation of its country's strict one-child policy.

The family planning agency in the eastern city of Wuxi - where Mr Zhang's wife, Chen Ting, is from - told Mr Zhang last month he would be fined, but did not say how much.

Mr Zhang appealed.

Online reports surfaced last year that Mr Zhang, who dazzled the world in 2008 with his Beijing Olympic ceremonies, had at least seven children and could be liable for a 160 million yuan fine, Xinhua news agency said.

Those reports sparked a hunt for Mr Zhang. The agency said last November they were unable to locate him.

In December, Mr Zhang apologised for having three children and said he would accept any punishment.

In a statement posted on the microblog account of the Binhu district's government in Wuxi, the family planning authorities said they would give Mr Zhang 30 days to pay up.

The authorities said their calculation of the fine was based on the combined income of Mr Zhang and Ms Chen, which totalled 3.6 million yuan in the three years that his children were born.

Mr Zhang, 61, once the bad boy of Chinese cinema whose movies were banned at home but popular overseas, has since become a darling of the Communist Party, despite long being a subject of tabloid gossip for alleged trysts with his actresses.

The government said in November that it would allow couples to have a second child if one of the parents was an only child.

It was the most significant relaxation of its population control regime in nearly three decades.

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