• Thu
  • Dec 18, 2014
  • Updated: 7:48am
NewsChina Insider

Zhang Yimou asked to declare income after admitting breach of one-child policy

In an attempt to end a six-month controversy, filmmaker bows to public pressure

PUBLISHED : Monday, 02 December, 2013, 5:05pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 03 December, 2013, 3:07pm

Famed film director Zhang Yimou and his wife violated family planning rules by having three children without approval and before they were married, local authorities said yesterday.

The family planning office of Wuxi's Binhu district in Jiangsu province said in an online statement that the couple had had three children - in 2001, 2004 and 2006 in Beijing - without first seeking approval from family planning authorities, and out of wedlock. They obtained a marriage certificate in 2011, the statement said.

Zhang, 62, admitted late on Sunday having breached the provincial family planning regulations, ending months of media speculation and public debate about whether a celebrity was entitled to breach the rules.

The filmmaker said he had two sons and one daughter with his second wife, Chen Ting. He and his wife apologised for causing "adverse effects to society".

Family planning policies and the fines for breaking them vary from city to city. Some consider unmarried childbearing illegal.

The family planning office in Wuxi - where Zhang and his wife hold residency - asked the 62-year old filmmaker to disclose his income to calculate the fine, the provincial daily Yangtse Evening Post reported yesterday.

Last night's Binhu government statement quoted an unnamed spokesman as saying it hoped Zhang and Chen would continue to co-operate with family planning authorities and truthfully report their income.

The director of classics such as Red Sorghum and blockbusters such as Hero said in a statement Sunday that he would co-operate with the investigation and accept his punishment. Zhang's office rejected reports that he had fathered more children.

Zhang and his wife could each be fined eight to 10 times the average annual income of a Wuxi resident in the year before the birth of the child, said Zhang Zhouhang, a local lawyer specialising in family issues, citing provincial family planning regulations. Last year, the local average income was 35,663 yuan (HK$45,400), according to the Wuxi Statistical Bureau. Such a fine would still be minuscule compared with the 160 million yuan estimated by state media in May, when the controversy first erupted.

Zhang has sent representatives to the family planning commission, the authority said last week in a weibo post.

For Leta Hong Fincher, author of the upcoming book Leftover Women: The Resurgence of Gender Inequality in China, Zhang's affluence shields him from official intrusion into his private life.

"If you are wealthy, it is very easy to pay a fine and have another child," she said.

The controversy comes as plans to relax the one-child policy are being finalised. The policy change announced at the third plenum will allow couples to have two children if one of the parents is an only child.

Demographer Wang Feng said the problem was an outdated policy, not Zhang.

Additional reporting by Associated Press.


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This article is now closed to comments

Slap him with a heavy fine and leave it to that. I don't see any sense in persecuting someone who has made so many contributions to his country and help sell China culturally to the rest of the world. He has wealth and could have easily emigrated to another country, like many mainland celebrities. Yes, he broke a law--a law which many view as inhumane--but it's not like he had sex with an underage girl and exiled to France to avoid the authorities a la Roman Polanski.
The People's Consultative Conference....A powerless group that gives official titles to fools willing to pledge allegiance to the Party....otherwise nothing more than a a collection of dummies who all agree to sacrifice the future of China for personal gain.
So much for making those China friendly films and your commitment to the Party.....time to get out of Dodge now. Looks like the Party has decided his films are more trouble than they are worth. Should have stuck to Chinese propaganda movies.
Wait, isn't he also one of those silly members of the so called "People's" consultative committees or something like that alongside celebs like Yao Ming?
I wonder who is the brain child behind telling Chinese to have lots of babies after the revolution? Ha Ha, blame it on Mao, the great Helmsman!!! Then the family planning department!!! All confucius narrow minded uneducated thugs!!!!
Hey, family planning officials, go ESAD!!!! I guess you guys are so bad that you are sorry that you were ever born!!!


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