by R A Y C H E N
PAS students who happen to be supporters of the Marvel blockbuster may be worried by the recent absence of Fan Bingbing, arguably China’s most high profile actress who landed supporting roles in both the “X-Men” and “Iron Man” franchise. Truth is, Fan Bingbing has now disappeared from the public eye for three months. Her last public appearance was for shooting a promotional video for De Beers, a corporation most known for its favor of Fan as their poster child, on May 24. Thereafter, Ms. Fan ceased posting on her Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter. Given Ms. Fan’s frequent appearances in film awards and her active following, the sudden halt in internet posts and attendance in social events has now sparked concern regarding her safety. Many also wonder whether the National Supervision Commission (NCS), the anti-corruption investigation system, is involved.
The Alleged Causes
The former state media anchor of CCTV Cui Yongyuan posted on Weibo a report of deficient tax payment Ms. Fan’s upcoming film in May. Since then, Ms. Fan disappeared from the radar. However, the validity of accusations against Fan or any ongoing investigations have not been confirmed. Officials of the Public Security Bureau has also refused to comment on whether the bureau has, as rumored, taken over the case. Suspiciously, prominent partnerships with Fan, such as De Beer and Swisse Wellness have since suspended the use of advertisements in her name. In addition, upcoming films starring Fan such as “Unbreakable Spirit” have now removed her name from posters.
The Likelihood of Ms. Fan’s Return
From recent development and media probing in China, definite conclusions are yet to be drawn from Fan’s disappearance. Rumor has it that Ms. Fan has already fled China, while others claim that Fan is currently in Tibet for philanthropy. One thing is for sure, when putting Ms. Fan’s disappearance in the context of China’s poor human rights protection - such as the notorious Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the precedent of the NCS, which employed abuses of basic rights for “investigations”- her reappearance seems highly unlikely. The PAS students fans may just have to bear with the disappointment of Fan Bingbing retiring from the media.