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Thursday 19 October 2017

€837,357 fine for director in Chinese child case

Chinese director Zhang Yimou
Chinese director Zhang Yimou

Malcolm Moore Beijing

Zhang Yimou, the Chinese film director, could be fined seven million yuan (€837,357) after admitting to having three children.

The 62-year-old director of 'Raise the Red Lantern', who also masterminded the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, has been publicly hounded for nearly two years for flouting the country's one-child policy.

Mr Zhang, who now admits to having three children with his second wife, the actress Chen Ting, became the focus of public anger over the disregard of China's rich for family planning rules.

For several months, Mr Zhang appears to have been in a delicate dance with the authorities, who recently told the Chinese media, to widespread mirth, that they "could not find" the film director to punish him.

But on Sunday, Mr Zhang submitted to the modern equivalent of a public flagellation, expressing his remorse in an interview with Xinhua, the state news agency. "I now believe what I did is utterly wrong," he said. "My reputation is ruined. There has been a terrible impact both in China and abroad. As public figures, Chen Ting and I must co-operate with the investigation. We are ready to apologise to the people."

He said hiding his children had taken a toll. "We hid from one place to another like guerrillas. While the three kids were in school, their teachers never met their father," he said. "When we went out, we stayed at least 200 metres away from our children. These mistakes have had a serious effect on my kids' childhood."

Mr Zhang is said to have met his current wife, Chen Ting, when she auditioned for a role in 'The Road Home', which starred another Chinese super star, Zhang Ziyi, and was released in 1999. Ms Chen, who is now 32, gave birth to their eldest child when she was just 19 years old. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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