- China disappeared actress Fan Bingbing for three months earlier this year when she was accused of tax evasion.
- She reappeared last month with a groveling apology to the Chinese government.
- Over the weekend she published a post touting China’s controversial claims to the South China Sea and Taiwan.
- It marks a striking conversion for Fan from pariah to effectively being a mouthpiece for China’s geopolitical ambitions.
Actress Fan Bingbing wrote a post touting China’s controversial territorial claims to the South China Sea, in her first appearance on social media since issuing a humiliating apology to Beijing for evading tax.
The actress disappeared from the public eye for three months earlier this year after she was accused of tax evasion. She broke her silence in early October with a groveling message to the Chinese government, which found that she signed a secret contract to avoid paying her taxes.
On Saturday the actress published her first post since the apology on popular microblogging site Weibo, which featured a map posted by China’s Communist Youth League of the country’s mainland, Taiwan, and a demarcated South China Sea with the Chinese flag imposed on it.
Fan added the caption: “China, without a bit missing!”
China controversially claims to own both the South China Sea and the self-governing island of Taiwan.
China, Taiwan, Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam all have claims in the South China Sea, many of which overlap. About $US3 trillion of shipborne trade passes through the area every year, making it a major economic and strategic prize.
Beijing’s claim to the South China Sea is marked by a dashed line, as can be seen in Fan’s post above. The more complicated web of territorial claims can be seen in this map:
China is extremely defensive of its territorial claims in the sea. After a British warship sailed through waters claimed by China in September, the state-run China Daily warned that it could derail a future UK-China trade deal over the slight.
Last week US Vice President Mike Pence told Southeast Asian leaders that the South China Sea “doesn’t belong to any one nation,” and reportedly flew through the area in a move that likely riled Beijing.
Beijing also insists that Taiwan is part of China, even though the island nation has been self-governing for decades and considers itself an independent nation.
Taiwan claims that China uses economic partnerships to pressure countries to cut off diplomatic ties with it.