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Chinese actress Zheng Shuang fined $46 mn as Beijing continues crackdown on entertainment industry

Zheng Shuang's fine was penalty for alleged tax evasion. Broadcasters and video service platforms have been prohibited from including the actress in any show, Global Times has reported.

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New Delhi: Chinese actress Zheng Shuang has been fined 299 million yuan, or $46 million, as penalty for alleged tax evasion. The National Radio and Television Administration has also prohibited all broadcasters and video service platforms from including Shuang in any show, China’s state media outlet Global Times has reported. According to the report, shows already starring the actress will not be aired any more.

The Global Times report added that Zheng Shuang was being questioned by the Shanghai tax authority since April, after her ex-husband Zhang Heng reported her for tax evasion.

Shuang had previously attracted international media attention in January due to a surrogacy scandal. According to a CNN report, Zheng Shuang and Zhang Heng had allegedly hired two surrogates to give birth to their children, but Zhang Heng accused her of abandoning him and their children in the US.

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China’s punishment of celebrities 

The fine imposed on Zheng Shuang, it has been reported, forms part of a wider policy by the Chinese government to crackdown on tax evasion and other alleged crimes by celebrities. Global Times reporter Qing Qing Chen has termed the policy as a “rectification of the entertainment sector”.

Apart from the Zheng Shuang case, other Chinese celebrities’ works were also removed from major platforms Friday for undisclosed reasons. Actress Zhao Wei’s name was removed from the cast list of several productions, the Global Times added.

Bloomberg also reported Friday that Zhao Wei’s fan club on Chinese social media platform Weibo was no longer accessible.

This is not the first attempt by China to look into allegations of crimes and legal irregularities by celebrities.

In July, Chaoyang District Police had detained Chinese-Canadian actor Kris Wu, following accusations of rape and deceiving young women into having sex with him, the China daily had reported. He was subsequently arrested earlier this month, The Guardian reported.

Chinese authorities have allegedly engaged in online censorship of Kris Wu’s fans, according to the South China Morning Post, as part of the country’s alleged “rectification” of the industry.

Chinese authorities have, however, been previously criticised for not acting swiftly in cases that did not involve celebrities, such as in that of a #MeToo allegation made by an Alibaba employee against her supervisor and a client, earlier this month.

The discrepancy between the speed of action taken against the Alibaba employee and that against Kris Wu, Zheng Shuang, and others is representative of the Chinese government’s ongoing crackdown on celebrities and the entertainment industry, journalist Aadil Brar had written for ThePrint.

Also read: China approves three-child policy to prevent steep decline in birth rates


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