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Rumours About Chinese Actress Fan Bingbing's Arrest Spread Online


Rumours about the arrest of Chinese model and actress Fan Bingbing on charges of tax evasion have spread on Chinese media.

As Apple Daily reports, celebrity Fan Bingbing and her younger brother Fan Chengcheng have allegedly been detained for taking part in a tax evasion scheme alongside her manager, Mu Xiaoguang.

Mu has also allegedly been charged with destroying incriminating evidence.

On May 28 TV anchor Cui Yongyuan posted on Weibo a contract that showed Fan Bingbing being paid $1.56 million (RMB10 million) for four days’ work on director Feng Xiaogang's film “Cell Phone 2.” 

Later Cui released another contract worth $7.8 million (RMB50 million) for the same work. He alleged that Fan had declared to tax authorities only the first contract, thus avoiding to pay taxes on the second, larger amount. 

Double-contracts for the purpose of tax evasion are known in China as "yin-yang contracts". 

Although the Chinese government censored Cui's posts, in early June China's tax authority announced an investigation into the film industry. Fan Bingbing was allegedly forbidden from leaving the country amid the probe.  

When the rumours of Fan's arrest began to spread online, Chinese authorities intervened to censor related content. Journalists reaching out to Mr. Mu for comment found that his mobile phone has been turned off.

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On July 30 shares of Zhejiang Talent Television & Film and Huayi Brothers Media Corporation fell sharply after the rumours of Fan's arrest, with whom both companies have business ties, spread online.

In 2013 China passed a draconian anti-rumor law that makes spreading false rumours online a criminal offence punishable by up to three years in prison if a post is read 5,000 times or shared 500 times on social media.

Xi Jinping's internet crackdown and firm control of the judiciary give the Communist government a monopoly on information, yet lack of transparency means that distinguishing fact from fiction has become increasingly difficult.

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