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A Chinese proverb says: 人怕出名猪怕壮 (rén pà chū míng zhū pà zhuàng). It means “people fear of getting famous just like pigs fear of getting fat”. Everyone wants to enjoy the benefits of fame like every pig wishes to enjoy unlimited food. But both publicity and binge eating are risky. Fan Bingbing (范冰冰), the number one celebrity in China according to Forbes, experienced at the risks firsthand.
Fan Bingbing is a Chinese actress (女演员 nǚ yǎn yuán), producer, and pop singer. Born to a couple of artists – her father was a singer, her mother was a dancer – Fan dreamed of becoming an actress. She began acting in Chinese television series in the 90’s when she was only a teenager. In couple of years she rose to stardom. She was only 23 when she won the best actress award at the The Hundred Flowers Awards (the Chinese equivalent of Golden Globes) for her role in the movie (电影 diàn yǐng) Cell Phone. She became famous in China, and out of China as well, with roles in X-Men: Days of Future Past and Iron Man 3. She was ranked first on the ‘50 Most Beautiful People in China’ list by Beijing News in 2010, and modeled for brands like L’Oreal Paris and Louis Vuitton.
Fan Bingbing was topped the Forbes China Celebrity list of 2014 and held the title for four consecutive years. In 2015 and 2016, she was ranked among the world’s highest paid actresses by Forbes. One of her quotes about her wealth drew a lot of attention. In an interview from 2010, she was asked: 你相信那种嫁入豪门的感情吗？ (nǐ xiāngxìn nà zhǒng jià rù háomén de gǎnqíng ma?, “do you believe in marrying into wealthy family?”). Fan answered: 我没有想嫁入豪门，我就是豪门！ (wǒ méiyǒu xiǎng jià rù háomén, wǒ jiùshì háomén ,“I don’t need to, I am a wealthy family!”).
Earlier this year, Fan was blamed for what is known in Chinese as a Yin Yang contract (阴阳合同 yīn yáng hé tóng). Fan was blamed for signing two contracts for an upcoming movie to avoid paying higher taxes: one contract with an amount to be reported to the authorities and another with her real payment. Three months before the Head of Interpol, Meng Hongwei, disappeared in China, Fan mysteriously vanished (消失 xiāo shī) too. She has not been seen in public or made any public statements since the beginning of July. No one knows where she is and what happened to her.
Fan broke her silence after three months of disappearance, in October 3th, with an apology note (致歉信 zhì qiàn xìn) on her Weibo account in which she sincerely apologizes to her friends, the people, the society, and the tax authority (税务机关 shuì wù jī guān). She promises to pay all her taxes and fines, and adds:
Méiyǒu dǎng hé guójiā de hǎo zhèngcè, méiyǒu rénmín qúnzhòng de àihù, jiù méiyǒu fànbīngbīng.
Without the good policy of the party and the country, and without the love of the masses, there is no Fan Bingbing.
On the same day, the official state media Xinhua announced the punishment of Fan for tax evasion. All her payments conclude in more than 880 million RMB (about 125 million USD). On October 15th, Fan was caught by paparazzi for the first time since her disappearance, walking on the streets of Beijing.
出名 chū míng = to become famous
有名 yǒu míng = famous, well known
女演员 nǚ yǎnyuán = actress
电影 diàn yǐng = movie
嫁 jià = (for a girl) to marry
娶 qǔ = (for a boy) to marry
豪门 háo mén = rich powerful family
消失 xiāo shī = to vanish
公开露面 gōng kāi lù miàn = public appearance
阴阳合同 yīn yáng hé tóng = dual contract
逃税 táo shuì = tax evasion
避税 bì shuì = tax avoidance
税务机关 shuì wù jī guān = tax authority
致歉信 zhì qiàn xìn = apology letter