Following the emergence of online rumors on May 9 that Zhang Yimou fathered seven children in his two marriages and two relationships, state media confirmed that the authorities have started investigating the famous director.
According to People’s Daily,Zhang Yimou may have to face a fine of RMB 160 million (USD 26 million) for breaking China’s one-child policy. The family planning policy states that all urban families must have no more than a child, with only a few exceptions. Whoever breaks the law must pay a “social compensation fee” based on their annual income.
While Chinese authorities started investigating whether or not there was any basis for the rumor, Chinese social networks were bristling with criticism for Zhang Yimou. Many complained that the elite always received special treatment compared to ordinary people.
Having as many children as you wish is an important human right and the one-child policy has its fair share of critics, but there is not much that can be done about it. The least the authorities can do is guarantee that Chinese citizens be treated equally, without exceptions.
Zhang Yimou made his debut in 1987 with the controversial film Red Sorghum. Other successes include the famous Raise the Red Lantern and his latest movie starring Christian Bale, The Flowers of War. Zhang was also the man behind the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics.
Source: China investigating whether film director Zhang Yimou fathered 7 kids despite 1-child policy.
Update: IBTimes has an article about how, despite the uproar over the Zhang Yimou scandal, many Chinese families are also getting around the one-child policy to have more children