Authorities are investigating whether one of Chinas top film directors has fathered seven children in violation of the countrys strict family planning laws,state media and a local official said Thursday.
Media reports circulated online this week that Zhang Yimou,director of The Flowers of War starring Christian Bale and also known as the architect of the opening ceremony for the Beijing Olympics,has seven children from his two marriages and relationships with two other women.
We are trying to confirm the online rumours, said a woman at the general office of Wuxi citys family planning committee,a department under the municipal government. The woman said she couldnt reveal any other information until authorities had finished investigating.
Zhang,61,reportedly could face a fine of up to 160 million yuan ($26 million),said the Peoples Daily newspaper,the Communist Party mouthpiece. People caught breaking Chinas family planning policy must pay a social compensation fee based on their annual income.
Users of Chinas lively social media lined up to criticize Zhang and drew distinctions between how the elite and ordinary people are treated.
However many children a person has is their basic right,but in a twisted society,basic rights have become a privilege, Beijing resident Liu Weiling,who works for a media company,wrote on Sina Weibo.
Why is China unable to win the worlds respect? asked author Christopher Jing. Rich people with groups of mistresses,old celebrities changing wives,Zhang Yimou getting so many privileges. Four women and seven kids,if this was an ordinary person they would have killed you or fined you an unreasonable amount of money,but he is fine …