Mystery of Missing X-Men Star Deepens

The mystery of missing Chinese movie star Fan Bingbing is deepening as fans wonder about the actress’s disappearance.

Bingbing is best known to American audiences for playing Blink in X-Men: Days of Future Past. In China, she is their film industry’s biggest star. But the normally socially active celebrity has been missing from the public eye, both in terms of social media and public appearances, for weeks.

More recent reports suggested that she was in trouble with the Chinese government over tax evasion charges and may have been banned from acting. However, Bingbing’s legal troubles may be even more serious than that. An article in the state-run outlet Securities Daily last week suggested that she was “under control” and that she would “accept the legal decision.” That article was quickly taken down.

A Hong Kong tabloid called The Apple Daily suggested that Bingbing was spotted at an immigration office in Los Angeles, reportedly seeking sanctuary at the urging of martial arts film star Jackie Chan. Those reports haven’t been corroborated, but media watchdog sites covering China have noted that the government seems to be censoring reports of Bingbing’s disappearance. Her boyfriend, Li Chen, also hasn’t been seen since she disappeared.

The idea that Bingbing was in trouble for tax evasion came after Chinese TV presenter Cui Yongyuan revealed images implying that Bingbing had taken part in a practice called a "yin-yang contract," where someone signs multiple contracts for the same job and uses the contract with a lower value in their taxes, keeping more of the money as a result.

Cui posted several images on a social media account and said those were copies of different contracts signed by Bingbing relating to the same job. Bingbing denies that this is the case and has hired a legal team to refute the claims in court, but the practice itself isn't uncommon.

In June, China announced that it was launching a full investigation into the country's film and television industry, specifically with regards to yin-yang contracts. The bureau for taxation wants to put an end to the practice, but they did not initially name Bingbing in their official statement of intent. The investigations are to be carried out by local taxation offices in the southern province of Jiangsu as well as other offices.

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Sources: Yahoo, Business Insider