China's missing X-Men actress Fan Bingbing: What happened

Fan Bingbing was reported missing, detained and "placed under control".

Jennifer Bisset
Jennifer Bisset
Jennifer Bisset Former Senior Editor / Culture
Jennifer Bisset was a senior editor for CNET. She covered film and TV news and reviews. The movie that inspired her to want a career in film is Lost in Translation. She won Best New Journalist in 2019 at the Australian IT Journalism Awards.
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  • Best New Journalist 2019 Australian IT Journalism Awards
Jennifer Bisset
2 min read

Fan Bingbing plays Blink in X-Men: Days of Future Past.

20th Century Fox

The details behind Fan Bingbing's three-month disappearance aren't as exciting as you might think.

The Chinese actress, known for X-Men: Days of Future Past and who had a role in Iron Man 3 as assistant Wu Jiaqi, and her companies face nearly 884 million yuan (about $129 million) in fines and back taxes, China's taxation authorities said on Wednesday, according to state news agency Xinhua. She reportedly underpaid more than 255 million yuan in taxes.

Fan had been missing from the public eye since June, neglecting her Weibo account, China's Twitter-like platform, and her 69 million followers. Reports suggested she was involved in an investigation into tax evasion in the film industry, with speculation she had been detained.

In September, state-run newspaper Securities Daily ran a story saying Fan had been "placed under control", but the story was quickly taken down.

On Wednesday news arrived that Fan had been in secret detention for two weeks under "residential surveillance" at a "holiday resort" in Jiangsu, according to the South China Morning Post.

Following the announcement, Fan returned to social media and her Weibo account to post an apology, saying she accepted the tax authorities' decision and would "try my best to overcome all difficulties and raise funds to pay back taxes and fines."

Fan is known as China's highest-paid actor, with an income of 300 million yuan in 2017. This saw her top Forbes magazine's list of China's highest earning celebrities, holding the title for a fourth year in a row.

In addition to Fan's case, Chinese authorities said if other TV and film personnel and entities check themselves and make up the tax payments they've missed to the taxation department before Dec. 31, they would be exempt from penalties. 

CNET's Marrian Zhou contributed to this report. 

First published on Oct. 3, 1:53 a.m. PT.
Correction, 6:57 a.m. PT: This story had the incorrect amount that Fan Bingbing and her companies were fined. Fan and her firms reportedly face nearly 884 million yuan (about $129 million) in fines and back taxes.
Update, 6:57 a.m. PT: Adds apology from Fan posted to social media.

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