Fan Bingbing had not made a public appearance for almost a year

By Rachel DeSantis
April 25, 2019 04:37 PM
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Credit: Fan Bingbing/Instagram

Fan Bingbing is slowly easing back into the spotlight after dipping out of the public eye amid a $70 million tax evasion scandal.

China’s highest-paid actress made her first public appearance in almost a year this week in Beijing, walking the red carpet at the IQIYI Ninth Anniversary Gala.

Fan, 37, shared photos of the event to Instagram, showing off her lacy black pantsuit and pink and black blazer.

The post received love from stars like Jessica Chastain, who commented, “Beautiful” with a heart. The actresses both appear in the upcoming spy thriller 355.

Fan has been lying low over the last year, and one of the last times she was seen in public was the Cannes Film Festival in May 2018 to promote 355.

She broke a nearly year-long social media silence in February when she shared several selfies on Instagram and Facebook wishing her followers a happy and healthy Chinese New Year.

Fan Bingbing
| Credit: Fan Bingbing/Instagram

The X-Men actress made headlines in September after she dropped off the radar both in public and on social media, worrying fans who soon began speculating as to her whereabouts.

Various rumors, from trouble with Chinese authorities to claims that she was seeking asylum in Los Angeles, emerged, as did a story in the state-run Chinese newspaper Securities Daily that said she was “under control” and “would accept the legal decision.” The story was later pulled.

In October, Fan was fined by Chinese tax authorities, Xinhua first reported. According to Bloomberg, Fan and her companies were fined 884 million yuan, which is equivalent to $129 million. Fan was responsible for $70 million of the fines.

Fan Bingbing
| Credit: Venturelli/WireImage

She remained off social media but issued a statement on Weibo, a popular Chinese social media platform.

“Recently I have been enduring an unprecedented amount of pain, undergoing deep self-reflection and introspection. I am deeply ashamed and feel guilty for what I have done, and I offer my sincere apologies to everyone,” she began.

The actress said, “I have come to realize that, as a public figure, I should have observed the law, setting a good example for society and the entertainment industry. I shouldn’t have lost the ability to control myself in the face of economic interests, allowing myself to break the law.”

Fan noted that she committed tax evasion “by taking advantage of ‘yin yang contracts’” (meaning she had one contract with her real salary, and another that had a lesser amount, which she then submitted to tax authorities), and that she accepted the fines.

She continued, “As an actor, I take pride in showcasing our country’s culture on the global stage, and I do my best to be in the forefront of this. I owe my success to the support of my country and the people. Without the great policies of the [Communist] Party and the state, without the love of the people, there would have been no Fan Bingbing.”

“I failed my country which nurtured me; I failed the society which trusted me; I failed the fans who loved me,” she wrote. “I offer my sincere apology here once again! I beg for everyone’s forgiveness!”