These could be taxing times for China’s A-listers in the entertainment industry. Fan Bingbing, one of China’s highest-paid stars who has acted in Hollywood blockbusters like Iron Man and X-Men, has been ordered by the Chinese government to pay a fine of 884 million yuan (approximately S$178 million) for tax evasion.
The 37-year-old actress mysteriously “disappeared” without a trace in Julythis year, after she dropped out of promoting female spy movie 355 with fellow actresses Jessica Chastain, Lupita N’yongo, Penelope Cruz and Marion Cotillard.
It was revealed that Bingbing used “yin-yang contracts” to hide how much she really earned from certain film projects, in order to avoid millions of dollars in taxes.
On Wednesday, October 3, Bingbing posted a lengthy apology on Weibo, where she apologised to “society and devoted fans” as well as her “friends and family”:
Read her full apology letter below (translated from Chinese):
Letter of Apology
Recently I have endured an unprecedented amount of pain, undergoing deep self-reflection and introspection. I feel ashamed and guilty for what I did, and here, I offer my sincere apology to everyone.
For a long period of time, I did not uphold the responsibility of safeguarding the interests of my country and our society against my personal interests. I feel ashamed that I committed tax evasion in “Unbreakable Spirit” and other projects by taking advantage of “split contracts.” Throughout these days of my cooperation with the taxation authorities’ investigation of my accounts as well as my company’s, I have realized that, as a public figure, I should’ve observed the law, setting a good example for society and the industry. I shouldn’t have lost my ability to govern myself in the face of economic interests, leading myself to break the law. Here I sincerely apologize to society, friends who care about me, the public and the taxation authorities.
I completely accept the penalties given by the taxation authorities after their thorough investigation. I will follow the final order given by the taxation authorities and will do my best to raise funds to pay back the taxes and fines.
I have been an art lover since I was a child, and I’m also fortunate to have run into the rise of the film and television industries. Thanks to guidance from veterans as well as love from the audience, together with my own hard work, I have achieved a bit of success in my career. As an actor, I take pride in showcasing our country’s culture on the global stage, and I do my best to be in the forefront of this. My success owes to the support from my country and the people. Without the great policies of the [Communist] Party and the country, without the love of the people, there would be no Fan Bingbing.
Today I’m facing enormous fears and worries over the mistakes I made! I have failed the country, society’s support and trust, and the love of my devoted fans! I offer my sincere apology here once again! I beg for everyone’s forgiveness!
I believe that, after this incident, I will uphold the law and respect orders, as well as taking my responsibilities. While I will continue to produce great work for everyone, I will keep a close eye on my company’s management to ensure that my company abides by the law, building it into a great company that is cultured and has high integrity, in order to spread positive energy to society!
Again, I apologize to society and my devoted fans, as well as to my friends and family who care about me. I sincerely say: I am sorry!
October 3 2018
As a first-time offender, Bingbing will not face criminal charges, as long as she pays up the fine by an undisclosed deadline, reports Xinhua. Here’s hoping she manages to get back on the right track!
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Besides Bingbing, Chinese news media reported that suspicion has also fallen on other celebrities. Here are other Asian celebs who’ve had encountered tax problems: