X-Men actress Fan Bingbing has disappeared from social media amid rumours she is the target of a tax evasion investigation in China.
Fan, 36, usually maintains a prominent presence on China’s main microblogging service Weibo, where she has more than 62 million followers, but her account has not been updated since June 2, when she wrote about the work of her charitable foundation.
Her boyfriend, actor Li Chen, has not updated his account since July 6.
Unconfirmed reports online say both have been barred from leaving China as the authorities look into claims that Fan was given dual contracts for her work: a public one giving her an official salary and a private one stating her actual, much higher, pay.
Chinese media reports said Fan, her production company and agent could not be reached, boosting speculation that all have been caught up in the probe.
Police rarely comment on such investigations until a conclusion has been reached.
In a June 3 statement, Fan’s production company said she had never signed any “yin-yang” contract, so named because of their dual natures.
Fan has appeared in dozens of movies and TV series in China, and is best known internationally for her role as Blink in 2014’s X-Men: Days Of Future Past.
She is one of China’s wealthiest entertainers, making tens of millions of dollars for her roles, along with substantial amounts in appearance fees and product endorsements.
Chinese authorities have sought to rein in high salaries for actors that can eat up much of a production’s budget. In June, regulators capped pay at 40% of a TV show’s total production budget and 70% in films.
Criminal cases can be career-ending for Chinese celebrities because the communist authorities, who possess ultimate control over what content is released, have offenders blacklisted.