In an announcement released on March 15, the Shanghai Tax Authority reported that Chinese actor Deng Lun has been fined 106 million RMB (16.6 million USD) for tax evasion.
The Shanghai Municipal Tax Service discovered that Deng evaded paying 47.66 million RMB’s worth of personal income tax by setting up fictitious businesses while also underpaying his personal income tax by more than 13 million RMB, according to state-backed publication Global Times. (Although it is worth noting that another state-backed newspaper, China Daily, has attributed the underpaid 13 million to “other taxes” instead of personal income taxes.)
Deng has since apologized on Weibo by saying, “I recognize my mistakes, and I fully accept the tax authority’s decision.” Nonetheless, his social media accounts on Weibo and Douyin have been removed.
Chinese actor Deng Lun. Image via Wikimedia
Deng was catapulted into the limelight after starring in the hit Chinese period drama Ashes of Love. The 29-year-old also gained popularity in the Chinese mainland by participating in variety shows such as Great Escape and Go Fighting.
Before the scandal, Deng boasted more than 40 million followers on Weibo and was affiliated with luxury skincare and fashion brands such as L’Oréal, Bally, Bulgari, and Roger Vivier. After his tax scandal broke on Weibo, L’Oréal and Roger Vivier deleted their posts related to the disgraced star.
In addition, several programs starring Deng have removed his name in their credits, although the shows are still streaming at the time of writing.
The news sent shock waves across Weibo, and the hashtag for the scandal has accumulated more than 3 billion views.
Netizens have been responding to the scandal with annoyance and anger. One wrote, “Making money as an actor is too easy. It looks like we have too few regulations targeting celebrities.”
Another observation touches on the wealth gap between the celebrity and the common people: “For their whole lives, ordinary workers will never be able to make the amount of money that celebrities make.”
In December 2021, China’s ‘livestreaming queen’ Viya was fined 210 million USD for tax evasion. Deng’s case is yet another example that the Chinese government is stepping up its efforts to regulate the entertainment industry in the country.
Cover image via Bally’s official Twitter account
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