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Chinese Authorities Take Aim at “Money Worship” Following Fan Bingbing Contract Scandal

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China’s tax authorities and film regulators have declared that they will be taking action against “unreasonable” pay packets, “money worship”, and the “distortion of social values” in the wake of the Fan Bingbing-featuring “yin-yang contracts” scandal that broke earlier this month:

Fan Bingbing, “Yin-Yang Contracts”, and Alleged Tax Evasion: Will the Scandal Change China’s Film Industry?

The joint notice stated the authorities would be taking steps to stamp out tax evasion and “yin-yang contracts”, and ensure “the healthy development of the film and television industry.” Moves will likely include a pay cap, it said.

As Reuters reports,

The document also said measures needed to be taken to rectify the “blind chasing of stars” among Chinese youth, curb the “growing tendency towards money worship” and prevent “the distortion of social values”.

It said “social benefits” should be the biggest priority, and the one-sided pursuit of box office returns, ratings or online clicks should be “firmly opposed”.

All of which sounds very familiar. Around this time two years ago, to give just one example of such rhetoric being aimed at the movie industry, a new Chinese film law made headlines for stating that productions “needed to be more centered on the people [and] guided by core socialist values”.

Cui Yongyuan, the presenter who started this firestorm by publishing the alleged “yin-yang contracts” on his Weibo account in early June, has been repeatedly calling on the authorities to take action in recent weeks, even as the topic somewhat suspiciously dropped off of the platform’s most-discussed list. Yesterday, a post on his account purporting to be from one of his cats and featuring an image of his now-nemeses Feng Xiaogang and Liu Zhenyun stated that he “supported the decision, [but] is still focused on his own enemy.”

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