Men actress missing amid tax fraud allegations

Fan Bingbing has not been seen in public since July.   Gareth Cattermole  Getty Images

Fan Bingbing has not been seen in public since July. Gareth Cattermole Getty Images

Fan is best known to American audiences for playing Blink in X-Men: Days of Future Past. Forbes has listed the actor, singer, and model among the highest-paid Chinese celebrities every year since 2013. There have been rumours doing the round that the actress has been detained by the Chinese authorities due to tax evasion claims.

The ranking has split fans online, with many jumping to Fan's defence.

A report in the Securities Daily newspaper last week said she had been put "under control" and would "accept the legal judgement", although it did not say what crime she had committed and the article was taken down shortly after it was posted.

Earlier this summer, reports emerged that Chinese authorities suspected Bingbing of using "yin-yang contracts" to evade taxes, a common practice in China in which an actor is paid one sum while a bogus contract is created - listing a substantially lower sum - that is presented to the government for tax purposes.

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Over the past few months, rumors have circulated that Fan has been arrested, that she has been banned from leaving China, that she has been banned from acting for three years, that her production company's offices have been emptied, and even that she has sought asylum in the United States.

Fan, the highest-paid Chinese actress and a darling of worldwide red carpets who has expanded her career to Hollywood film roles, scored a shocking zero and was the last on a list of 100 celebrities. In China, she is their film industry's biggest star.

It follows news that the star was recently ranked last in the 2017-2018 China Film and Television Star Social Responsibility Report, an official report authored by academics at Beijing Normal University, which judged celebrities on "professional work, charitable actions and personal integrity".

One user wrote on Weibo, China's equivalent to Twitter: "What kind of a report is this?" Her name is commonly associated with Chinese youths' newfound obsession with plastic surgery, and her aquiline nose and distinctive jaw line are said to be popular requests. Although Fan's studio has denied that any secret dealings were done to avoid taxes, the question of her whereabouts and possible motives still remain.

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Given the Chinese government's propensity for secrecy, there probably won't be any solid news until the matter is sorted out behind closed doors, and Fan pays up for her rumored tax transgressions and makes a contrite statement to the public.

Fans are anxious for her safety as she's not the first citizen to disappear under this government.

In June, China announced that it was launching a full investigation into the country's film and television industry, specifically with regards to yin-yang contracts.

Concerns are mounting over Chinese actress Fan Bingbing, who has apparently not been seen in public "for months".

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