- One of China’s most successful actresses, Fan Bingbing, vanished from the public eye without explanation in July.
- Many speculated that the “X-Men” actress, who was last seen on July 1, was being held by the Chinese government over tax-evasion allegations.
- China’s state-run Securities Daily said last week that Fan was “under control, and will accept the legal decision,” several news outlets reported.
- The Securities Daily article appeared to have been taken down hours after it was published, according to Taiwan News.
- News about her disappearance appears to be censored in China.
China’s state media reported last week that one of its most successful actresses, Fan Bingbing, who vanished from the public eye without explanation in July, was “under control.”
Fan, who played Blink in the 2014 film “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” has not been seen in public since July 1 and last posted on social media on June 2.
Many speculated that she was being held by the Chinese government over allegations of tax evasion.
Her disappearance came after Cui Yongyuan, a former TV host with the state-owned China Central Television, suggested that the actress had signed secret contracts with a Chinese entertainment company to avoid paying taxes.
Last week, China’s state-run Securities Daily said that Fan was “under control, and will accept the legal decision,” several news outlets, including Taiwan News, reported.
According to Taiwan News, the Securities Daily report added that the actress had been jailed and that what it described as a scandal related to signing multiple contracts to avoid paying higher taxes was only the “tip of the iceberg.”
The Securities Daily article appeared to have been taken down hours after it was published, according to Taiwan News.
Other news outlets have for months speculated on Fan’s whereabouts, and rumours circulated that she was living under house arrest, according to The Epoch Times, a US newspaper focusing on China.
Her fiancé, the actor Li Chen, last posted on his social-media accounts in early July.
China seems to be censoring news about her
In late July, the independent Chinese newspaper The Economic Observer reported that police in Jiangsu province were examining Fan’s financial case and that several of Fan’s staff members were also under police investigation.
It also reported that Fan and her brother were barred from leaving the country.
But shortly after it was published, that report appeared to have been taken offline.
Posts about Fan’s whereabouts earlier this year were also removed from social media, according to Free Weibo, a website that tracks social-media censorship in China.
Citing Free Weibo, the BBC reported in August that comments from Fan’s supporters expressing concern also appeared to have been taken down.
The 36-year-old has been China’s highest-paid actress since 2013,Forbes reported last year. It said she pulls in tens of millions of dollars for her acting roles, as well as several high-end endorsements.
In June, Fan’s studio denied allegations that Fan had signed multiple contracts to evade taxes, saying: “The studio and Fan Bingbing will fully cooperate with the relevant authority. We hope the investigation result can be released soon to answer the public doubt.”
A recent report by academics at Beijing Normal University ranked Fan the lowest in a “social responsibility assessment” of Chinese film and television stars.
The report evaluated celebrities on three criteria – professional work, charitable work, and integrity – based on media reports over the past year. It found that Fan scored zero out of 100 points.
Rumours have circulated online that Fan’s low score may have resulted from the allegations of criminal activity against her.
Alexandra Ma contributed to this report.
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