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Fan Bingbing, China’s Most Famous Actress Who Has Been Missing Since June, Now Presumed Imprisoned

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X-Men: Days of Future Past actress Fan Bingbing – described by Time Magazine as the most famous actress in China in 2015 – has been missing, gone without a trace, since June. Shocking in itself, developments are now making clear that Bingbing may have been imprisoned without trial by the Chinese government, on allegations of significant tax evasion.

Fan Bingbing, seen by many as China’s most bankable star and the face of thousands of advertisements for luxury brands, posted on her social media in June that she was visiting a children’s hospital in Tibet. She hasn’t been seen or heard from in public since. On the 6th of September, state news outlet Securities Daily briefly ran a story saying that she had been brought “under control” and was to “receive legal judgement”. The article was swiftly deleted.

The Chinese government has made no statements about the disappearance of the country’s most visible celebrity.

Rumours began to fly in May that she could be brought in for questioning, following a leak to a Chinese tabloid that reported to show that the actress had two separate contracts for a single film – one alleging that she was paid $1.5 million, and the other showing that she was in fact paid $7.5 million. Said documentations are referred to colloquially as ‘yin-yang contracts’, with the smaller contract being reported for tax purposes. Bingbing’s representatives denied the existence of such contracts – which are a poorly-kept secret in the Chinese film industry – but apparently to no avail.

China has a somewhat shady relationship with tax evasion, home as it is to approximately 590 billionaires. China’s communist government are supposedly willing to turn a blind eye to smaller matters of tax evasion, but come down firmly on more flagrantly fraudulent cases. The alleged imprisonment of Fan Bingbing has been seen by some as a significant scare tactic by the state, designed to send the message that no one – not even the country’s most valuable actress – is above the law.

No criminal charges have been formally brought against Fan Bingbing, nor anyone related to her.

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