• Tue
  • Dec 23, 2014
  • Updated: 8:11am

Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou faces billion-yuan lawsuit over children

PUBLISHED : Friday, 06 December, 2013, 2:44pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 07 December, 2013, 3:02am

Top Chinese film director Zhang Yimou is facing a billion-yuan lawsuit after violating the country’s controversial one-child policy, state media reported yesterday.

Zhang’s case has brought renewed debate over what critics say is the selective enforcement of China’s late-1970s family-planning law, which restricts most couples to one child but is frequently flouted by the wealthy and well-connected.

Two lawyers filed a lawsuit Thursday in the eastern Chinese city of Wuxi, the hometown of Zhang’s wife, suing the director of Red Sorghum and Raise the Red Lantern for a total of one billion yuan (HK$1.26 billion).

“The rich have become increasingly audacious by violating the family planning policy just because they are rich enough to pay the fine ... and they take an extra share of resources from society,” one of the lawyers, Jia Fangyi, said in a statement reported by state-run newspaper China Daily.

“It’s unfair to the poor and those who strictly follow the national policy,” he added

The two lawyers are claiming 500 million yuan in “compensation for public resources” and another 500 million yuan in punitive damages, the China Daily said.

Zhang, one of China’s best-known filmmakers and the director of the opening and closing ceremonies at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, had faced rumours for months that he had fathered as many as seven children with several different women.

Amid increasing pressure – including a Nanjing newspaper’s publication last month of a front-page “wanted” poster seeking information on his whereabouts – Zhang finally issued an apology on Sunday through his studio’s microblogging account.

He acknowledged that he has two sons and a daughter with his current wife, as well as another daughter with his ex-wife.

Chinese media reports have speculated that Zhang could face a penalty as high as 160 million yuan, but authorities have not released any figures.

Fines for violators of China’s one-child policy are a significant source of income for China’s provincial governments.

In last year, 24 of the country’s 31 provinces and regions collected a total of nearly 20 billion yuan in penalties, the Beijing News reported Thursday. None of the provincial authorities has detailed how the money was spent.


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This article is now closed to comments

Mainland Tax Revenue folks should go after these fat cats instead selling land prices high for revenue!!! Time to contribute to the motherland since Zhang is so 'patriotic' by giving up his US residency haha :)

Don't know what his contributions are to be honest...I remember watching his movies for 2 hours and being unhappy for 2 weeks afterwards...he smiles very little so cannot be a gentleman in the end...we have very few gentlemen left anyway after 5,000 years...
If he broke the law he has to pay as like all ordinary citizen. And of course he has to pay more considering his annual payroll but 1.2 billion seems to be exaggerated. I don't think he makes that much money.
Zhang has earned huge benefits out of China but at the same time he has contributed greatly to Chinese film industry, However that would not put him above the law. He should have moved to HK before he gave birth to his many children. If he has done so he would not have been that successful among the Chinese.


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