The Shanghai Taxation Bureau announced that, based on the established facts of tax evasion by Zheng Shuang, they would impose a penalty decision on Zheng’s recovery of taxes, additional late fees, and fines – totaling 299 million RMB ($46 million).
Zheng Shuang is a famous Chinese actress who had been previously involved in a major controversy due to surrogacy scandals, something that is illegal in China. The news spread rapidly, with a discussion surrounding the morality of surrogacy across the Chinese social media platform Weibo.
The tax authorities are urging her to pay the fine within the prescribed time limit, with the statement Zheng will not be held criminally responsible if the 299 million RMB is paid by that deadline. In addition, Zhang Heng, her ex-boyfriend (a whistleblower), has been filed for inspection because of his involvement in helping Zheng evade tax.
After the case was announced, the State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television stated that they would stop broadcasting programs that Zheng has participated in. In addition, part of their statement includes that radio and television organisations must not invite Zheng to participate in the production of any shows.
Zheng issued an apology letter on Weibo, sincerely apologising to the country, society, and public whilst promising to pay taxes and fines on time, stating she will strictly abide by the law in the future. This case is a landmark and seeks to enforce regulation of the high-earning entertainers who have violated the law.
Furthermore, the authority is cracking down on immorality within the celebrity community, as evidenced by the case of the once-popular Chinese celebrity Kris Wu who has recently been officially arrested by the Beijing Chaoyang Public Security Bureau on suspicion of rape. In line with this push, Chinese Actor Zhang Zhehan has also been cancelled after visiting a politically sensitive site in Japan. Prior to this, Chinese actress Fan Bingbing was also fined heavily, totalling 800 million RMB for tax evasions.
China has further strengthened the governance of celebrity crimes and has been ramping up its crackdown on the entertainment industry.