Ex-Top Chinese Actress Faces Surrogacy Scandal and Bankruptcy Allegations | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Ex-Top Chinese Actress Faces Surrogacy Scandal and Bankruptcy Allegations

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Zheng virtually banned from show business after a string of scandals

A scandal continues to unfold involving a former top actress in China.


The woman at the center of the storm is Zheng Shuang (32). Zheng was sued by a drama production company (details of the dispute are mentioned later) and was ordered to pay approximately 1.9 billion yen in damages. On April 8th, it was revealed by Hong Kong media such as the South China Morning Post that Zheng had declared bankruptcy, citing her inability to pay. 

“When the government investigated her bank accounts and holdings, suspicions arose that she had hidden massive assets overseas. Despite having the ability to repay, failure to pay the compensation could result in up to three years’ imprisonment or fines,” said a writer based in China.

Zheng was a star of the 2010s. She rose to fame as the lead actress in the Chinese version of the drama “Boys Over Flowers,” titled “Let’s Watch Meteor Shower Together,” which aired from 2009 to 2010, catapulting her to the top of the actress hierarchy. Her appearances in various works were all major hits, and she amassed over 12 million followers on social media.


Successive tax evasion and undeclared tax returns


“The turning point came in January 2021. Zheng Shuang had two children through illegal surrogacy with her former partner, a producer referred to as Mr. A. However, suspicions arose that Zheng had abandoned her parental responsibilities.

Furthermore, leaked audio data, believed to be from Zheng, expressing dissatisfaction with Mr. A, surfaced. Mr. A confessed that due to the illegal surrogacy, he couldn’t return to China and had been raising the children in the United States. It was exposed by insiders that Zheng had not fulfilled her parenting duties.”

Zheng released a statement saying she had no intention of running away from her statements, but criticism continued to mount. The situation worsened when it was revealed that she had failed to declare approximately 4 billion yen in personal assets from 2019 to 2020, resulting in tax evasion of around 1 billion yen. Additionally, it was discovered that she had not reported around 3.3 billion yen in drama appearance fees.

“With successive scandals, the drama series starring Zheng was forced to halt its broadcast. The production company of the drama sought damages and sued Zheng. In December 2021, the Chinese tax authorities ordered Zheng to pay approximately 1.9 billion yen in damages.

The Chinese government viewed Zheng’s actions as extremely malicious, halting the broadcast of her past works and instructing all parties involved not to engage her in future programs. Companies that had Zheng as their image character, such as fashion brands, terminated their contracts one after another. Essentially, Zheng was expelled from the entertainment industry.”

Let’s return to the initial suspicion. If Zheng indeed had massive assets hidden overseas and declared bankruptcy without complying with the compensation order, it would be a serious crime. Zheng’s fall from the top actress throne to a quagmire has drawn attention not only in China but also from overseas stakeholders, who are closely watching the progress of the investigation into her.

She was one of China’s leading actresses.
Dramas in which she appeared were usually big hits.
Numerous allegations of child abandonment and tax evasion surfaced.
She was effectively banned from the entertainment industry.
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