It was her first public statement after months of silence on her Weibo social media account and after fevered speculation over her disappearance from view. Fans and industry observers have wondered whether Fan, China’s highest-paid actress, had been put under house arrest by Chinese authorities, or even imprisoned and interrogated under duress.
Although she has still yet to be seen in public, Fan said she accepted responsibility for having “lost my ability to govern myself in the face of economic interests, leading myself to break the law.” She said she had “endured an unprecedented amount of pain, undergoing deep self-reflection and introspection….I beg for everyone’s forgiveness!” (Full apology below.)
She credited China’s ruling Communist Party and her fans for her success as an actress. She and her companies now face as much as RMB 883 million ($129 million) in back taxes and fines. Fan said she would pay the penalties and vowed in future to “uphold the law and respect orders.”
Her punishment comes as the Chinese government steps up its campaign to ensure that all citizens toe the party line, which demands adherence to “core socialist values” and frowns on ostentatious displays of wealth. Officials have also launched an investigation into the use of double contracts in the entertainment industry, where only the one of lower value is declared to tax authorities. Fan admitted to the practice.
Within hours, her apology had been re-posted more than 100,000 times and received nearly 500,000 “likes.” Fans generally agreed with the authorities but also declared their love and support for the actress.
“Respect the result, accept criticism. We still [heart emoji],” wrote one Weibo user.
“Humans are not saints. It is impossible for us to make no mistakes. Being able to correct your mistakes is the right thing to do,” another user wrote.
Read Fan’s apology in full, translated from Chinese:
Letter of Apology
Recently I have endured an unprecedented amount of pain, undergoing deep self-reflection and introspection. I feel ashamed and guilty for what I did, and here, I offer my sincere apology to everyone.
For a long period of time, I did not uphold the responsibility of safeguarding the interests of my country and our society against my personal interests. I feel ashamed that I committed tax evasion in “Unbreakable Spirit” and other projects by taking advantage of “split contracts.” Throughout these days of my cooperation with the taxation authorities’ investigation of my accounts as well as my company’s, I have realized that, as a public figure, I should’ve observed the law, setting a good example for society and the industry. I shouldn’t have lost my ability to govern myself in the face of economic interests, leading myself to break the law. Here I sincerely apologize to society, friends who care about me, the public and the taxation authorities.
I completely accept the penalties given by the taxation authorities after their thorough investigation. I will follow the final order given by the taxation authorities and will do my best to raise funds to pay back the taxes and fines.
I have been an art lover since I was a child, and I’m also fortunate to have run into the rise of the film and television industries. Thanks to guidance from veterans as well as love from the audience, together with my own hard work, I have achieved a bit of success in my career. As an actor, I take pride in showcasing our country’s culture on the global stage, and I do my best to be in the forefront of this. My success owes to the support from my country and the people. Without the great policies of the [Communist] Party and the country, without the love of the people, there would be no Fan Bingbing.
Today I’m facing enormous fears and worries over the mistakes I made! I have failed the country, society’s support and trust, and the love of my devoted fans! I offer my sincere apology here once again! I beg for everyone’s forgiveness!
I believe that, after this incident, I will uphold the law and respect orders, as well as taking my responsibilities. While I will continue to produce great work for everyone, I will keep a close eye on my company’s management to ensure that my company abides by the law, building it into a great company that is cultured and has high integrity, in order to spread positive energy to society!
Again, I apologize to society and my devoted fans, as well as to my friends and family who care about me. I sincerely say: I am sorry!
October 3 2018