Mystery remains over whereabouts of film maker Zhang Yimou

Famous movie maker nowhere to be seen as family planning authorities seek answers over allegations he fathered seven offspring

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 November, 2013, 2:38pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 21 January, 2015, 4:39pm

Family planning officials have been joined by China’s community of microbloggers in the search for famous filmmaker Zhang Yimou, who is wanted to answer allegations he has fathered seven children in violation of China’s one child policy.

Zhang is nowhere to be found. The Population and Family Planning Committee in the eastern city of Wuxi in Jiangsu province, the hometown of his second wife, Chen Ting, have tried “every possible means” to track him down. They sent several letters and dispatched officials to Zhang’s film studios in Beijing and Guangxi, as well as to Chen Ting’s residence in Wuxi, Xinhua reported.

Online, thousands of people are calling for anyone with information of Zhang’s whereabouts to come forward using the hashtag “Help the family planning committee find Zhang Yimou” on their microblog posts.

A scandal surrounding the filmmaker’s prolific offspring emerged in May, after several media reports alleged he has fathered seven children in relationships with up to four women. The Wuxi Family Planning department at this time said they would look into Zhang’s case.

The Wuxi government spokesperson insisted that all citizens must follow the rules of the one child policy, no matter how famous they are.

Not everyone is convinced. Online, some debated whether the Wuxi officials were really doing everything in their power to find him, or whether they weren’t actually looking very hard.

On Weibo, a post called “We don’t’ believe Zhang Yimou has gone to Mars” had more than 40,000 comments. “The Wuxi Family Planning Committee are nothing more than idle parasites”, wrote one.

A spokesperson from the department told Xinhua that the exact amount of the fine will not be set until the specific details of Zhang’s case are considered, including his salary and assets. She added that the speculation circulating on the internet would not be considered; the matter would only be decided in consultation with Zhang and Chen.