Monday, 2 December 2013

Finally Coming Clean

Zhang Yimou and his wife finally admit to having more than one child
There were rumours back in May that superstar Chinese director Zhang Yimou had fathered seven children by four women.

After that story came out, there was no word of the 62-year-old Zhang until now. He has come out and admitted he has four children -- three with his current wife, and another from his first.

His office issued an open letter through its verified Sina weibo account late on Sunday saying the director and his wife Chen Ting have two sons and a daughter, which violates the one-child policy.

Zhang and his wife "expressed their sincere apology to the public for the negative social impact that this has created," the letter said.

When the rumours came out in May, the People's Daily reported the director could face a fine of up to 160 million yuan ($26 million). When people are caught flouting the one-child policy, they must pay a "social compensation fee" based on their annual income.

The letter added Zhang and his wife were willing to be investigated by the family planning committee in Chen's hometown in the eastern city of Wuxi and would accept whatever penalties they would have to face.

It was unsure how the couple had managed to evade the family planning authorities until now. The family planning office in Wuxi's Binhu district confirmed Zhang and Chen had sent representatives to accept the investigation and that it was underway.

The public will soon discover how the director and his wife hid the exact number of children they had for so long. Each had to be registered in order to get their hukou or residency permit. Or perhaps they paid bribes? Or bought the hukou in different places? Or they were born in Hong Kong or elsewhere?

The investigation will surely uncover some loopholes the government will promptly seal up -- just as they are loosening the one-child policy only so slightly to allow couples with one parent who is an only child to have more than one baby.

Or is Zhang's star fading in political circles? Even having kids is political in China.

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