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Fan Bingbing says sorry, thanks the Party

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When Xinhua News Agency publishes an article comprising a single sentence, it usually means there is big news. Fàn Bīngbīng 范冰冰, perhaps the most famous actress in China, is the subject of one of these one-liners today:

China fines actress Fan Bingbing for tax evasion

Chinese actress Fan Bingbing has been ordered to pay taxes and fines worth hundreds of millions of yuan over tax evasion, the country’s taxation authorities said Wednesday after an investigation.

That’s the entire article. So what happened?

  • Fan’s tax problems first came to light “when Chinese TV host Cuī Yǒngyuán 崔永元 leaked two different contracts on social media; the one that allegedly showed that the actress was paid a total of 10 million yuan for her work, with another showing a payment of 50 million yuan for the exact same work,” notes What’s on Weibo. These are called “yin-yang contracts” (阴阳合同 yīnyáng hétóng), “an illegal practice to avoid paying taxes.”

Fan Bingbing’s exposed contract ignites debate about celebrity salaries

  • Fan disappeared from public view in July, and since then, all kinds of rumors about her whereabouts have circulated online.
  • Today’s news was the first official confirmation of the tax investigation.
  • “Without the good policies of the Party and the state, without the love of the people, there would be no Fan Bingbing” is the most important sentence in an apology that Fan published today (in Chinese). What’s on Weibo has translated the whole thing into English in the post linked above.

Who is Fan Bingbing?

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Jeremy Goldkorn

Jeremy Goldkorn worked in China for 20 years as an editor and entrepreneur. He is editor-in-chief of SupChina, and co-founder of the Sinica Podcast.