25th September 2023 – (Barcelona) Following her entanglement in a tax evasion scandal, Chinese actress Fan Bingbing’s entertainment career in mainland China has been effectively halted. However, her overseas endeavours remain unaffected. She was invited to attend the San Sebastián International Film Festival in Spain and also served as a member of the jury for the competition section. Recently, she graced the festival’s red carpet event in an elegant black and white gown, exuding the aura of a superstar. She took to social media and wrote, “Work has begun.”
However, even in this glamorous setting, she encountered a mishap. Fan posted a photo on social media showing a captured image of a film being screened in a cinema. Netizens harshly criticised her for not being aware that filming the screen was strictly prohibited, especially considering her role as a film festival judge. They accused her of a severe lack of understanding when it comes to respecting copyright. Although she promptly deleted the “pirated photo,” the backlash continued, with some netizens dragging actress Zhang Ziyi into the conversation, referring to her infamous “international Zhang” incident from three years ago, where she made a similar mistake. These incidents have prompted calls for greater promotion of intellectual property rights in mainland China.
Fan Bingbing was previously in a high-profile relationship with actor Li Chen, and they announced their engagement in September 2017. However, the couple announced their separation in June 2019. Fan also has a younger brother named Fan Chengcheng, who is a member of the boy group Nine Percent and NEXT. Additionally, since August 2010, Fan has been involved in charitable work, helping over 340 children with congenital heart disease receive medical treatment in Beijing and Shanghai.
The tax evasion scandal involving Fan Bingbing unfolded on 28 May 2018 when TV anchor Cui Yongyuan exposed a redacted contract on social media, revealing that Fan had been paid CN¥10 million for only four days of work on an upcoming film. The next day, Cui revealed a second redacted contract showing an amount of CN¥50 million for the same job, suggesting an attempt to evade taxes by reporting a lower income. This disclosure prompted tax authorities to investigate Fan for suspected tax evasion. Fan’s studio denied the existence of separate contracts and pledged full cooperation with the authorities’ investigation.
Following these events, Fan disappeared from public view, leading to rumours of her arrest. However, her manager clarified that she was never arrested. Fan finally broke her silence on 3rd October 2018, apologising to the public for tax evasion. To avoid criminal prosecution, she and her companies were ordered to pay approximately CN¥883 million (US$127.4 million) in taxes and penalties by the Chinese authorities.