Chinese actress Fan Bingbing made a rare public appearance on Monday in Beijing, her first outing in nearly a year following the tax evasion scandal that threatened her career. The actress was on hand at a corporate gala for iQIYI, a massive Chinese online video platform. A photo of Fan on the red carpet, in Alexander McQueen and Louis Vuitton, was posted to her official Instagram account, which is blocked in China. She did not post any photos to Weibo, China’s most popular social media site, on which she has more than 62 million followers.
Fan disappeared from public view last July, when the scandal was revealed in late May. Retired television anchor Cui Yongyuan released documents that appeared to show the actress being paid through two different contracts for work on a 2003 movie. According to The New York Times, one contract showed a salary of $1.6 million to be reported to tax authorities and another an actual payment of $7.8 million. The documents resulted in an investigation into the Chinese entertainment industry over dual contracts, also known as “ying and yang” contracts.
Fan originally denied the accusation, retreating from public life and abstaining from all social media. In October, she reemerged online for the first to post an apology on Weibo in which she admitted she had let her country and her fans down.
“Today I’m facing enormous fears and worries over the mistakes I made…I have failed the country, society’s support and trust, and the love of my devoted fans…I beg for everyone’s forgiveness.” Fan wrote. “Without the favorable policies of the Communist Party and state, without the love of the people, there would have been no Fan Bingbing.”
Many believe President Xi Jinping used Fan’s case as an example to others in China’s massive entertainment industry as part of an anti-corruption crackdown.
Variety confirmed earlier this month that Fan will next appear in Jessica Chastain’s “555,” alongside Lupita Nyong’o, Penelope Cruz and Marion Cotillard. Fan was committed before the scandal broke, but her legal troubles put her involvement in limbo. Produced through Chastain’s Freckle Films, the all-female spy thriller is set to begin shooting sometime this year.