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Fan Bingbing, China’s Most Famous Actress, Faces Huge Fines in Tax Evasion

In commentary that censors appeared to be trying to suppress, people reacted online on Wednesday with both gleeful disdain and also incredulity that so large an instance of tax evasion merited only a fine.

“Ordinary people who earn a little salary still need to pay taxes honestly,” one user on Weibo wrote.

Ms. Fan’s legal troubles mushroomed after a personal grudge not directly related to her drew public attention. A retired state television anchor, Cui Yongyuan, posted accusations on Weibo in May that included photographs of two contracts for a coming film, a sequel to one of Ms. Fan’s early successes, “Cell Phone,” released in 2003. One photo purported to show a salary of $ 1.6 million being reported to the tax authorities, the second an actual payment of $ 7.8 million.

The practice of having dual contracts — known as “yin and yang” contracts — is widespread in many industries. Mr. Cui’s anger appeared to be directed as much toward the director of “Cell Phone,” Feng Xiaogang, as toward Ms. Fan. Mr. Cui previously had accused him of slander because the plot — in which a prominent television anchor has an affair with an assistant, played by Ms. Fan — bore striking, though he said inaccurate, parallels to Mr. Cui’s own career.

In the statement, the authorities noted that Ms. Fan had used such dual contracts on at least four occasions. It detailed one involving a Chinese production, starring Bruce Willis and known in English as “Unbreakable Spirit,” about the Japanese bombing of China’s wartime capital, Chongqing, from 1938 to 1943.

In that case, the authorities said, Ms. Fan signed an actual contract for 20 million yuan, nearly $ 3 million, but declared only 10 million yuan in the contract submitted to the tax authorities.

The film’s release, originally scheduled for August, has also been delayed, and her role reportedly edited out.

Source: NYT > World

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