China caps huge salaries for TV stars amid latest crackdown on celebrity culture

China caps huge salaries for TV stars amid latest crackdown on celebrity culture

China has tightened a rule capping huge TV star salaries in its latest crackdown on celebrity culture following outrage over an actress’ $25 million salary.

Television program plans for the next five years, released by the National Radio and Television Administration, limit actors’ salaries to 40 percent of the total production budget.

The plans, revealed this week, also state that the main actor’s salary cannot exceed 70% of the total salary of the entire cast, according to the South China Morning Post.

This is Beijing’s latest move in its crackdown on celebrity culture, which includes banning celebrities from displaying their wealth on social media.

The TV pay cut follows public outcry last year when it was revealed that famous actress Zheng Shuang received $25 million for her role in one series.

China has tightened a rule capping huge TV star salaries in its latest crackdown on celebrity culture following outrage over Zheng Shuang's (pictured) $25 million salary.

China has tightened a rule capping huge TV star salaries in its latest crackdown on celebrity culture following outrage over Zheng Shuang’s (pictured) $25 million salary.

According to local news reports, the Beijing branch of the national authorities was ordered to investigate because it was alleged that the TV crew violated cost-benefit rules. It’s unclear what the show’s total budget was.

Beijing authorities also fined Shuang £34 million for tax evasion between 2019 and 2020, and producers were ordered not to hire her again.

In 2018, Taiwanese actor Huo Jianhua and actress Zhou Xun paid $7.8 million each for a total production cost of $47.1 million in the TV show Rui’s Royal Love in the Palace.

New actors and agencies that evade taxes or sign “yin-yang contracts,” contracts commonly used in Chinese show business to hide actors’ real salaries, will be severely punished.

In December, China’s “live queen” Wia was fined £160 million for tax evasion in Beijing’s wide-ranging crackdown on celebrity culture.

The internet celebrity, whose real name is Huang Wei, was fined for concealing personal income and other offenses in 2019 and 2020, according to the tax bureau of Hangzhou, a city in southern China.

The e-commerce streamer, which has over 18 million Weibo followers and over 80 million Taobao followers, apologized at the time.

“I deeply regret my violations of tax laws and regulations,” she wrote on her Weibo account. “I fully accept the punishment from the tax authorities.”

Via, 36, is the latest celebrity streamer to be embroiled in a massive crackdown on technology monopolies but also on private education, social media and celebrity culture.

In December, China's

In December, China’s “live broadcast queen” Wia (pictured) was fined £160 million for tax evasion in Beijing’s wide-ranging crackdown on celebrity culture.

Viya is known for her ability to sell “anything” live on the Taobao Live platform.

Last year, Beijing authorities imposed a £34 million tax penalty on leading actress Zheng Shuang, and producers were ordered not to hire her again.

Shuang was fined by the Shanghai tax authorities in August for tax evasion and undeclared income between 2019 and 2020 while filming a TV series, according to an online statement.

Zheng, 30, rose to prominence in China after starring in the hit remake of the 2009 Taiwanese drama Meteor Shower and later in a number of successful TV series and films.

China’s state broadcasting regulator also recalled the offending TV drama Zheng and ordered producers not to hire her for future shows.

The State Administration of Radio, Film and Television added that it has “zero tolerance” for tax evasion, “high wages” and “yin-yang contracts”.

Before the crackdown, tax evasion had already ruined the careers of several well-known figures in the entertainment industry.

Last year, two online e-commerce broadcast influencers were reportedly under investigation for tax evasion and fined nearly 100 million yuan. Their live streaming services have since shut down.

In September, the State Tax Service released a notice announcing measures to strengthen tax administration in the entertainment sector, including live broadcasts.

The department said that anyone who reports and corrects tax violations will receive a lighter punishment or even be exempted from punishment. According to state media, more than 1,000 people took the initiative to pay off their tax debts.

Beijing has made it its mission to curb what it calls a “chaotic fan culture” and celebrity glut after a series of scandals in recent months that saw the elimination of China’s biggest artists, including singer Chris Wu, who was arrested on suspicion of rape at the start of this year.

Beijing authorities imposed a £34 million tax penalty on Zheng Shuang (pictured in January 2021), and producers were ordered not to hire her again.

Beijing authorities imposed a £34 million tax penalty on Zheng Shuang (pictured in January 2021), and producers were ordered not to hire her again.

As part of a wide-ranging ban, China has banned its celebrities from showing off their wealth on social media.

China’s Cyberspace Administration has announced that celebrities in the country will not be allowed to “display wealth” or “extravagant pleasure” on social media.

The rules also prohibit celebrities from posting false or personal information, provoking fans against other fan groups, and spreading rumours.

In addition, Business Insider reported that social media accounts of celebrities and fans will be required to observe “social order and good habits, adhere to the correct orientation of public opinion and value orientation, promote core socialist values, and maintain a healthy style and taste.”

In September, Chinese celebrities were warned to “confront decadent ideas of money worship, hedonism and extreme individualism” at an entertainment industry symposium hosted by the Communist Party.

The rally in Beijing was held under the slogan: “Love the Party, love the country, defend morality and art.”

It was attended by high-ranking party officials and show business bosses who were told they must uphold social ethics, personal morality, and family values.

China sees celebrity culture and the pursuit of wealth as a dangerous Western import that threatens communism because it promotes individualism over collectivism.

Conference attendees were told, according to state media, that they should “deliberately reject vulgar and kitsch lower tastes and consciously oppose decadent ideas of money-worship, hedonism and extreme individualism.”

In August, references to movie star Zhao Wei (pictured in 2017) were removed from video streaming sites as Beijing intensifies its campaign against celebrity culture.

In August, references to movie star Zhao Wei (pictured in 2017) were removed from video streaming sites as Beijing intensifies its campaign against celebrity culture.

The state media is zealously calling for changes in China’s entertainment culture.

“For some time now, artists’ moral failures and violations of the law, the cultivation of younger idols, and ‘chaotic’ fandoms have attracted widespread public attention,” state broadcaster CCTV said earlier this year.

“We must restore a pure and honest literary and artistic environment for the public.”

In August, references to movie star Zhao Wei, a hugely popular actress also known as Vicki Zhao, were removed from video streaming sites.

Her name was suddenly removed from the credits of major TV dramas, while the actress’s Weibo forum was also mysteriously shut down as the hashtag “Zhao Wei Super Topic Closed” reached 850 million views.

No official reason was given.

But earlier this year, Zhao and her husband were banned from trading on the Shanghai Stock Exchange because of a failed takeover bid in 2016 that authorities said “disrupted the market order.”

Last year, China’s cybersecurity regulator released rules banning celebrity rating lists and tightening controls on “chaotic” celebrity fan clubs and management agencies.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.