Prominent filmmaker and movie director behind the 2008 Beijing Olympic ceremonies Zhang Yimou on Friday paid a family planning bureau the 7.48 million yuan fine he incurred for violating China’s family planning policy.
Xinhua reported that the Binhu family planning bureau in Wuxi City, Jiangsu province received the payment from Zhang and his wife Chen Ting in full and that the money would be turned over to the national treasury.
The fine was calculated based on the couple’s annual earnings, reported as 3.58 million yuan in 2000, 2003 and 2005, the birth years of their three children.
Zhang had said in previous statements that he was ready to accept the penalties for his violations. “As a public figure, I and my wife must assist the sweeping investigations by the family planning authorities and also are willing to make a public apology.”
He denies, however, public accusations that the couple received special treatment because of his elite status.
“If we had have been given special treatment, our children would have obtained their legal status earlier, and the situation of today could have been avoided,” Zhang’s wife said.
Chinese netizens sympathized with Zhang’s situation, with some 40 percent of them saying that the punishment was “too serious”, further expressing mounting distrust with the Chinese Family Planning Commission.
At the end of December last year, China formally approved easing its one-child policy with new regulations allowing couples to have two children as long as one parent is an only child. The previous law only permitted a second child if both parents were, themselves, only children.
Meanwhile, Zhang is currently in the midst of shooting his latest film Return in Beijing and Tianjin.