Fan Bingbing is China’s highest paid actress and an international star and icon, but her fans are fearing for her safety and wellbeing. The 36-year-old performer known for I Am No Madame Bovary and X-Men: Days of Future Past in her extensive filmography was last spotted in May at the Cannes Film Festival. However, since becoming mired in a scandal regarding tax evasion and payment on her projects, Bingbing has been both invisible and silent for months. Even her social media accounts stopped posting on May 31st.
Bingbing’s last tweet was one praising Canadian singer Celine Dion. Dion had shared a photo of herself meeting the Chinese celebrity. Bingbing also promised to see Dion again during a planned summer visit to China.
It seems unlikely that the reunion between the two occurred however.
As we reported in August, Bingbing was accused of taking part in a “yin-yang” contract where she would allegedly declare to be paid a certain amount in one contract whilst actually receiving a great deal more money in another. A TV host posted images that allegedly showed a discrepancy before apologizing and claiming that he did not mean to implicate the actress.
The damage to Bingbing’s career and public reputation were unfortunately not so easily taken back.
Bingbing’s name was removed from marketing materials for the upcoming Bruce Willis movie Unbreakable Spirit. Her role in Jessica Chastain’s all-female led spy flick 355 may also be in question now.
Fan had also been acting as a major brand ambassador for Australian vitamin company Swisse. Her disappearance has reportedly thrown their promotional plans and event schedule into chaos. In 2014, Bingbing was seen holding a tube of Swisse cream. Sales of the product subsequently skyrocketed from 3,000 a month to more than 500,000!
With fall approaching and no sighting of Fan reported, some are fearing something more sinister.
One theory posits that the Chinese government has forbidden the star from seeking work whilst her legal matters are resolved. Now, there have even been reports that Fan is actually in prison.
The THR tabloid in Hong Kong claims that Bingbing was present at an immigration law office in Los Angeles, presumably to find a way to exit China.
The more official sounding Securities Daily, said that Fan was “placed under control” by the government and that she had promised to “accept the legal decision” dealt to her. This report would eventually be redacted, however. Western outlets like the New York Times and The Guardian are also speculating about the actress’s disappearance.
Earlier this year, Bingbing had also been given an abysmal 0% social responsibility rating by the Chinese government. Perhaps her rising star power and wealth were so great, they thought she had to be made an example.