Concerns have intensified that one of China’s most famous actors Fan Bingbing, who has been missing for months, may be in trouble with the authorities after she came last in a ranking of social responsibility among celebrities.
Fan scored zero out of 100 in the category in the 2017-18 China Film and Television Star Social Responsibility Report, compiled by Beijing Normal University and the state-affiliated Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Corporate Social Responsibility Research Institute.
It is the latest sign that the A-list actor, model and singer may have fallen foul of the authorities, with rumours that she has been detained for tax evasion.
The study comes amid a wider push by China’s Communist leaders to crackdown on the entertainment industry and curb what it sees as “promoting money worship”, “distorting social values” and “misleading young people to blindly chase celebrities”. Chinese authorities announced a pay cap in June, saying leading actors should receive no more than 70% of total wages for the cast.
Only nine celebrities scored above 60 in terms of social responsibility, considered a passing grade, and the report said stars should promote “positive energy” and be more mindful they could cause “negative social impact”.
Fan has not been seen in public in over two months, and has reportedly become caught up into an investigation over what are known as “yin-yang contracts” among stars, where one contract lists the actor’s real salary while another with a smaller figure is submitted to tax authorities.
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. Fan’s studio has denied any wrongdoing.
Fan, 36, is one of the biggest stars in China, and in a career spanning more than two decades has become a ubiquitous sight on advertisements hawking luxury brands such as Cartier and Mercedes-Benz.
She is most famous outside China for her role in the 2014 film X-Men: Days of Future Past and is set to appear in a spy movie alongside Jessica Chastain, Penelope Cruz, Marion Cotillard and Lupita Nyong’o, though a release date for the film has not been announced.
But despite the rumours dogging Fan, including that she has received a ban from appearing in films, she has not been formally accused of any crime. Her last public appearance was at a children’s hospital on 1 July.
Chinese authorities maintain a tight grip on mass media both on and off screen. Censors routinely demand changes to content and have also hosted political indoctrination sessions for celebrities. Stars that promote the official Communist party line are often rewarded while those who step out of line are quickly punished.