Actress Fan Bingbing ‘disappears’ amid China tax rumours.
The actress, who is known internationally as a singer and model as well as for her appearance as Blink in the X-Men film franchise, is one of the highest paid actors in China. However, local media reports claim she has not been seen in public since 1 July, when she visited a children’s hospital.
As one of the most influential celebrities in China, her current online silence has also been considered unusual: she has not been active since 23 July when she “liked” several posts from her Weibo account. She typically posts regular updates, and her posts receive thousands of reactions and comments.
Many fans are pleading with her to confirm she is well, or to release a statement explaining her recent silence. One fan wrote: “We love you, Fan Bingbing… we are waiting for an answer.”
The BBC reports that fan concern has increased after a financial newspaper published an article implying that she was under investigation.
The Economic Observer claimed on 26 July that several of her staff were being questioned by police. Soon after it was published, the article was taken offline, with several reports citing it also being censored. Other media in China appears to be avoiding reports on Fan’s whereabouts.
Several reports claim her brother has been barred from leaving China as authorities look into reports that she was given dual contracts for her work – dubbed “yin-yang contracts” – to evade taxes. A public contract lists the person’s official salary, while the other one states the actual, much higher pay. Her production company released a statement on 3 June denying claims she signed a “yin-yang” contract.
Other reports have suggested Fan and her team could simply be taking a break from the limelight. Chinese media has said neither Fan nor her representatives can be reached.