Fan Bingbing is ubiquitous in China, where she’s the country’s highest-paid actress and the face of numerous luxury brands. Now, in a bizarre turn of events, she’s all but disappeared. The 36-year old hasn’t been seen in public since July 1, and The Hollywood Reporter notes that she hasn’t updated any of her social media accounts since July 23.
THR notes that her disappearance is likely related to a public tax evasion scandal and the Chinese government’s latest attempts to crack down on what it describes as the entertainment industry’s promotion of “money worship” and a “distorting [of] social values.” The Guardian reports that Fan scored a zero out of 100 in the category of “social responsibility” on the 2017-18 China Film and Television Star Social Responsibility Report, which was compiled by a local university and the state-affiliated Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Corporate Social Responsibility Research Institute and sounds really weird. The report labels her a bad role model, and, despite it clearly being politically motivated, the story has been picked up by Chinese media outlets.
Fan is reportedly being investigated for engaging in “yin-yang contracts,” which find celebrities receiving two different contracts, one with their true salary and one with a smaller figure that they submit to tax authorities. According to THR, a collection of leaked documents “were said to show that Fan tried to claim $1.56 million (RMB10 million) for four days’ work on an upcoming Chinese film when her secret pay actually totaled an additional $7.8 million (RMB 50 million).” Fan’s spokespeople have denied the accounts. Chinese tabloids like The Apple Daily and Securities Daily, meanwhile, have spread rumors that she is either “under control” by authorities or has fled to Los Angeles to seek asylum on the advice of action star Jackie Chan.
China’s Communist leaders are desperate to get the country’s stars under their thumb, as they routinely host political indoctrination sessions for celebrities and make a point to reward those who promote Communist values.
Fan is becoming a star stateside as well: She appeared in 2014's X-Men: Days of Future Past, and is slated to star in Jessica Chastain’s 355 with Penelope Cruz and Lupita Nyong’o.