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July 3, 2024

Fan Bingbing’s Tax Saga: A Cloud Over Her Tourism Role

Why was Fan chosen for tourism ambassador role when there are many 'clean' stars to choose from China? The 42-year-old actress was among the country's highest-earning stars and one of the best internationally-known artists from China before she was investigated for evading taxes in May 2018. By: K Dass.

Malaysia - Internationally renowned Chinese actress Fan Bingbing continues to be plagued by her less-than-perfect tax affairs, despite her recent appointment as a tourism ambassador for the Malaysian state of Malacca. The fanfare surrounding her new role is being stifled as she grapples with ongoing questions about her tax status from critics online.

A Troubled Past

Fan Bingbing, once among China’s highest-earning stars and an internationally-known artist, faced scrutiny in May 2018 when she was investigated for evading taxes. Allegedly, she signed two contracts to conceal her real income, leading to an order from tax authorities to pay approximately 884 million yuan (US$122 million) in overdue taxes and fines. This hefty sum marked the largest amount paid by a single celebrity in a Chinese tax case.

As a consequence of her tax evasion, Fan was banned from acting and prohibited from producing films in China. While her presence in mainland China diminished, she worked to boost her global profile, taking on jobs overseas. Despite this, her tax troubles continue to cast a shadow over her career.

Malaysia’s Choice

Malacca’s chief minister, Ab Rauf Yusoh, appointed Fan Bingbing as a tourism ambassador mainly due to the connections of her agent, Jersey Chong, who is a Malaysian citizen. During her visit to the state from June 14-16 this year, Fan expressed her delight at the task and emphasised her sense of honour and responsibility in the role. However, some online observers questioned the decision, wondering why she was chosen when there were “clean” actors available for the position.

Mixed Reactions

While some in China celebrated Fan’s appointment as a kind of winning honour for the country, others remained critical. Her international stardom and popularity in Malaysia were cited as reasons for her selection, but the tax controversy still looms large. Critics argue that other Chinese celebrities without tax evasion records could have been better choices for the role.

In the end, Fan Bingbing’s tax saga serves as a cautionary tale for artists and celebrities worldwide. Her journey from tax evasion allegations to a tourism ambassadorship underscores the delicate balance between fame, responsibility, and public perception.

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