Asia-Pacific

Chinese actress Fan Bingbing seen in public after lengthy 'disappearance'

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Fan Bingbing has reportedly been filmed in Beijing.

Chinese superstar Fan Bingbing has reportedly been seen in public for the first time since her "disappearance".

The actress vanished from the public eye in May after accusations of tax evasion, prompting rumours of involvement by the Chinese Communist Party.

In a video shared on Weibo by Baidu News, Fan is seen leaving Beijing Capital International Airport wearing dark clothes, a hat and glasses. 

A still from the video which reportedly shows Fan Bingbing.
A still from the video which reportedly shows Fan Bingbing.
Weibo

The 37-year-old has been a household name in China for years and had Hollywood success with a role in the 2014 blockbuster "X-Men: Days of Future Past."

But her once active social media presence went silent and public appearances stopped in May after allegations emerged that she had evaded taxes on a lucrative movie shoot, charges her studio called "slander".

Fan Bingbing at Cannes.
Fan Bingbing at Cannes.
AAP

Her sudden absence from screens and advertisements across the country spurred rumours that she had been snatched by officials at a time when Beijing is cracking down on what it views as excesses in the film and television industry.

Human rights advocate Michael Caster told CNN in September "that China feels so emboldened to disappear even one of its most famous actresses ... should be a real wake up call that anyone within China could be next".

Chinese tax authorities have laid at least part of the mystery to rest, ruling that both Fan and companies controlled by her failed to pay tens of millions of dollars in taxes, the official Xinhua news service reported earlier this month.

Fan Bingbing
Fan Bingbing "disappeared" for several months.
AAP

The report said Fan would have to pay a total of 883 million yuan ($178 million) in taxes, fines and penalties, adding that she would avoid criminal prosecution as long as she met a repayment deadline.

Fan made a written apology earlier this month, saying she felt "ashamed and guilty for what I did".

She said she accepted responsibility for having "lost my ability to govern myself in the face of economic interests, leading myself to break the law".

Last year, Fan topped Forbes magazine's list of top-earning Chinese celebrities with income of 300 million yuan ($60 million).

But her star has dimmed among authorities in China. A recent report by academics listing the "social ranking" of Chinese celebrities placed Fan at the very bottom with a score of zero.

The study was widely carried by Chinese state media. 

Additional reporting: AFP

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