This is not a good time to be a wealthy businessman or a celebrity in China right now. Over the past 9 months, the empires of a handful of Chinese billionaires have been gradually dismantled because they have become too rich and too influential. China’s 10 richest tech billionaires have combined lost over $ 100 billion in net worth since January.
And now the Chinese government is chasing ordinary old celebrities. Actors, actresses and musicians. Government leaders no longer value the “fan” culture. And as you might guess, that has gotten many of China’s most famous and wealthy actors, actresses, and musicians into the crosshairs.
Vicki Zhao Wei
Take the actress / singer “Vicki” Zhao Wei. She has been one of the most popular celebrities in China since the late 1990s.
She is also secretly one of the richest actors in the world.
In 2016, her good friend Jack Ma encouraged Zhao and her husband to buy a large portion of the shares in his new company, Alibaba Pictures. Fast forward to the present and that stake is now worth $ 1 billion.
The Chinese government does not like this.
As a punishment, Chinese regulators recently ordered that Zhao be completely removed from the Chinese version of the Internet. Authorities also ordered that all of their work – including film, television and talk show appearances – be removed from streaming sites in China. In addition, all discussions about Zhao online are now censored.
Vicki and her husband Huang Youlong allegedly fled China by private jet after being blacklisted. They are believed to be hiding in their vineyard in southern France.
Singer and actor Kris Wu is one of China’s biggest stars. Unfortunately, he was arrested on August 16 on charges of rape. It was deleted from the internet within a week.
Singer / actor Zheng Zhehan was similarly wiped out from the planet. His offense? Kris posed for photos at a Japanese shrine commemorating Japanese citizens and soldiers who died in various wars.
In April, actress Zheng Shuang was fined $ 46 million for unpaid income tax and excessive income. Zheng is not very well known to American audiences, but she is one of the highest paid actresses in the world. The 29-year-old actress earned $ 25 million for 77 days of work on an upcoming 50-episode show called “A Chinese Ghost Story”.
Chinese regulators have cracked down on celebrities before. In 2017, Fan BingBing – then one of the most famous Chinese actors in the world – was fined an unprecedented $ 100 million for paying taxes.