Brow Beat

Missing Chinese Superstar Fan Bingbing Resurfaces With an Ominous Statement—and a Huge Fine for Tax Evasion

Chinese actress Fan Bingbing poses on a red carpet.
Fan Bingbing at the Cannes Film Festival in May.*
Loic Venance/Getty Images

After a mysterious silence and public absence that provoked international headlines, Chinese superstar Fan Bingbing resurfaced on social media Wednesday after a state-run outlet reported China had fined her $130 million for tax evasion.

Fan, one of China’s biggest stars (and best known to American audiences as Blink in X-Men: Days of Future Past), hadn’t been seen since July 26. Rumors suggested the government may have targeted her because of so-called “yinyang contracts,” in which a star is paid an official salary for tax purposes and then another, higher salary in a private contract, a common practice in the industry there. Speculation about her whereabouts traveled around the world.

Then on Wednesday, state-run outlet Xinhua reported Fan and companies she represented had been ordered to pay a fine of $130 million to settle tax evasion charges. Of that, Fan was ordered to pay $70 million personally. She apparently will not face criminal prosecution beyond the fine, but her agent was arrested, reportedly for interfering in the investigation.

In an ominous-sounding message on Weibo, Fan apologized and wrote, “I have been through pain and suffering I have never had before. I have had deep and profound self-reflection. I feel shamed and guilty for what I have done.” Neither she nor the official news outlet offered any explanation for where she’s been for the past several months. As the New York Times notes, “Fan’s prominence suggests that the authorities intended to send a broader signal with the investigation.”

Correction, Oct. 3, 2018: Due to a photo provider error, this post originally contained a photograph of another actress. It has been replaced.