Amid tax evasion storm, where is Fan Bingbing?

Top Chinese actress Fan Bingbing is alleged to have inked two contracts to avoid paying taxes.
Top Chinese actress Fan Bingbing is alleged to have inked two contracts to avoid paying taxes. PHOTO: REUTERS

HONG KONG • Is Fan Bingbing barred from leaving China? The top Chinese actress, who was recently involved in a storm over her alleged inking of two contracts in a bid to avoid paying taxes, was uncontactable by mainland media.

In late May, Cui Yongyuan, a former television host with state broadcaster CCTV, disclosed the existence of the so-called "yin-and-yang contracts" in the Chinese entertainment field.

He hinted that a female star has two contracts for her four-day work, with one for remuneration of 10 million yuan (S$2 million) which was used to declare tax, while a secret contract with remuneration of 50 million yuan was signed in private.

The revelation led to several speculations and Fan's office released a statement later claiming elements of insinuation and defamation. Cui apologised to her later.

According to Chinese newspaper The Economic Observer, the police in Jiangsu province have stepped in to investigate the issue of the "yin-and-yang contracts".

Several employees of Fan's are reportedly under police investigation, and she and her brother Fan Chengcheng are reportedly barred from leaving the country. Media reports said that the siblings discovered they were barred from leaving the country after he was invited by a mainland TV programme to record the show overseas.

The report by The Economic Observer was removed from its website later and mainland media has not been able to contact Fan or her staff to verify the news, Ming Pao Daily News reported.

There were even claims over the weekend that she has been arrested, but Yang Jinlin and Luo Changping, the Chinese journalists who reportedly leaked the news, confirmed separately to the media that it was not true, with Luo saying that Fan is fine in Beijing.

She has not appeared in public since the storm over the contracts and has not updated her Weibo account for about one month. However, a netizen on July 1 posted photos of the actress visiting young patients at a hospital in Shanghai.

According to the 2017 Forbes China Celebrity List, Fan was the highest-earning Chinese celebrity in the last four years, earning 300 million yuan a year.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 30, 2018, with the headline Amid tax evasion storm, where is Fan Bingbing?. Subscribe