Jan 23, 2014 Translated by eChinacities.com

Editor’s Note: The situation surrounding Zhang Yimou’s fine for violating the one-child policy has been making headlines of late. He was first fined for the violation and then came out and publicly apologized for his actions. This translated article provides a breakdown of Zhang Yimou’s 7.48 million RMB fine by outlining  the process by which the fines were decided, and looking into the reactions by Netizens, many of whom questioned the reported incomes.

On January 09 at 15:45, the Binhu District Family Planning Bureau in Wuxi made a formal announcement on its Weibo account, following an investigation into Zhang Yimou and his wife Chen Ting that had taken place over the past nine months. The bureau, after collecting information, sent the couple a letter stating that they must pay a social compensation fine for their three children born out of wedlock. According to Chinese laws, Zhang Yimou and Chen Ting owe fines totaling 7,487,854 RMB for violating China’s family planning laws.

Zhang Yimou
Zhang Yimou
Source: thebeijinger

An administrative investigation

The bureau, in their investigation, discovered that Chen Ting had been registered in the Binhu census but had not lived in Wuxi for a long time. She had been classified as part of Wuxi’s “floating,” or migrant population. Zhang Yimou and his children have also not lived in Wuxi for a long time. However, according to legal provisions, the Binhu Family Planning Bureau still had jurisdiction over Chen Ting, Zhang Yimou and their children. The office began to research the case in July 2013. The investigation, from its formal beginning to end, lasted for more than half a year.

Upon investigation, the bureau found that Chen Ting and Zhang Yimou had three children outside of wedlock. The children were born in 2001, 2004 and 2006. They had all been born in Beijing. When the three children were born, Chen Ting and Zhang Yimou were not formally registered as a married couple. Moreover, they had not acquired official documents from the Population and Family Planning Bureau necessary to legally have children.

The Binhu Family Planning Bureau assigned an agent to travel to Beijing to find Zhang Yimou in the early stages of the investigation. The bureau sent over ten letters to Chen and Zhang and never received a response, which made the investigation more difficult. Because the Binhu Family Planning Bureau is merely an administrative department they could only take administrative measures in their investigation. The bureau needed to correspond with Chen and Zhang while undertaking the investigation and the lack of response from the couple delayed progress many times.

The results of the investigation

In late November, 2013, Chen Ting and Zhang Yimou sent an agent to Wuxi to participate in the investigation. Armed with new information supplied by the agent representing the couple, the Binhu Family Planning District Bureau formed nine different investigatory groups and dispatched them to Beijing, Guangxi, Sichuan and other cities to collect evidence.

The bureau needed to find Chen Ting and Zhang Yimou’s individual incomes in the year before each child was born (2000, 2003 and 2005) in order to impose a social compensation fine on the couple. As a result, the bureau launched an all-around examination of the couple’s individual incomes in the three relevant years.

The investigatory group led an on-site investigation in multiple cities. Through the investigation, the bureau found that in 2000, 2003 and 2005 Chen Ting did not report any individual income. Therefore Zhang and Chen’s combined income for those three years totaled 3.58 million RMB. The couple signed a written statement confirming the integrity of their stated individual incomes.

A 7.48 Million RMB fine

Zhang Yimou and his wife were fined for exceeding the limit of the stipulated one-child policy for all three children. The breakdown of the fine is as follows: 71,928 RMB for the birth of their first child, 2.21 million RMB for the second, and 5.19 million RMB for the third.

A representative from the Binhu Family Planning Bureau noted that because Chen and Zhang’s violations of various family planning laws were very serious, the fine levied for his second and third child exceeds twice the average per capital disposable income. In all, Chen and Zhang must pay 7.48 million RMB.

New evidence and further punishment

On December 28, 2013 the Binhu District Family Planning Bureau dispatched a letter to Zhang Yimou detailing the social compensation fine levied on him and Chen Ting. According to legal provisions, once Zhang and Chen received the letter they would have three working days to defend the charge.

On January 3, 2014, the bureau received a defense written by Zhang Yimou and his wife defending the issue of his income. After reading the response, the local bureau sent Zhang and Chen the final amount of the social compensation fine. The fine, according to relevant laws, is levied from the date of the receipt of the written decision and must be paid in a one-time payment within 30 days. If the persons involved are not satisfied with the final decision, they may ask for reconsideration from authorities within 60 days of receiving the letter. The parties involved can also file a lawsuit to the People’s Court within 3 months of receiving the letter.

According to “Social Compensation Fee Collection and Management Methods,” after the social compensation fee is transferred to the state treasury, the regional government receives it as well as other public finances. It can then be used in all public service categories and social programs.

The Binhu district family planning bureau said that persons involved may have had additional income in the years involved.  If this is the case, they will repeal the original decision and re-impose a new fine.

Netizens dispute the fine

As the news of the punishment was announced, many Weibo users expressed their views on the matter, calling Zhang Yimou and his wife’s reported gross income into question, especially Zhang Yimou’s reported income of 2,760 RMB for the year 2000. This eventually escalated into an intense and violent “roast,” of the couple. Many Netizens called for a clear explanation from the Binhu Family Planning Bureau Investigation Unit of the framework used for these legal provisions.

When reporters contacted Zhang Yimou’s company Le Vision Pictures, a representative expressed that the matter in Wuxi had already been handled.

Late last year, Zhang Yimou’s income had come under question as well when his mansion and luxury cars were exposed by the media. At the time, Zhang said, “The mansion is a rented house, our three luxury cars are all owned from a company’s “celebrity car plan,” in which celebrities can drive the cars for free for one year and after that they must return them. I do have more advantages than most ordinary people, but I do not live a luxurious life.”

Formula for the fine

First child: The couple’s total revenue one year before the child was born X 3
Second child: (The local average wage from the year before the child was born x 5) + (A part of gross income exceeding average wage (ave. wage in Wuxi in 2003 was 11,647 RMB) X 2)

Third child: (The local average wage from the year before the child was born X 6) + (A part of gross income exceeding average wage (ave. wage in Wuxi in 2005 was 16,005 RMB) X 2)

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Keywords: Break down of Zhang Yimou’s 7.48 Million RMB fine Zhang Yimou and Chen Ting; Zhang Yimou; One-child policy violations; Family Planning District Bureau

3 Comments Add your comment

1

bill8899
comment|43274|81937

LOL as if he only made 24,000 the year before the first child was born! Hilarious, I love reading these things. He lives in a mansion in Beijing and drives luxury cars for free, but he does not "live a luxurious life." You can't make up anything as ridiculous as these outright lies. I dare you to even try.

Jan 23, 2014 06:54 Report Abuse

2

sunilsah2050
comment|43283|47189

What's the source of your FORMULA FOR THE FINE?

Jan 23, 2014 10:11 Report Abuse

3

bill8899
comment|43312|81937

Yes. According to their numbers the average wage in Wuxi in 2005 was 5.19m/6 or about 865,000 RMB per year. Must be nice to be average in Wuxi!

Jan 24, 2014 10:21 Report Abuse