Zhang Yimou under investigation for breaching One-Child Policy

Zhang Yimou

Zhang Yimou, prolific father and filmmaker

China’s most distinguished film director is being investigated for a violation of China’s One-Child Policy, the People’s Daily reported. Zhang Yimou 张艺谋, whose recent works include The Flowers of War 金陵十三钗 and the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony, is rumoured to have fathered seven children with four women. The Wuxi Population and Family Planning Commission is probing the allegations which first spread online earlier this month. Wuxi is the residence of Zhang’s second and current wife, actress Chen Ting 陈婷.

If the allegations are proven true, Zhang could face a penalty of double his annual income, a total figure given at RMB160 million ($26 million). Wuxi authorities expect to finalise the report in a few days.

The One-Child Policy was first introduced in 1979 to curb China’s then population boom. The policy, which restricts couples to only one child, directly affects about a third of the country’s population.

10 thoughts on “Zhang Yimou under investigation for breaching One-Child Policy

  1. If you had a kid with a different wife, does it count as having a second child? Because it doesn’t make sense if you remarried and can’t have a new child as long as one of the individuals does not yet have a child.
    Also, I don’t really care how many kids he have as long as he pays the fines. The idea of not having more children is because of the negative externalities imposed upon the entire population. Presumably, the fines he will pay will exceed the cost of that externality, so he’s done no harm to China by having those kids as long as he pays the fines.

    • Wait, are these children going to get proper financial support and parental guidance from both the mother and this father? If he’s going to have all these kids, merely pay the fines, but then not fully financially support/educate these kids until they’re grown, in my country he can go to jail with multiple charges.

      • A couple of his children are now adults, I believe. His oldest child, daughter Zhang Mo, is 29 (so, only a few years younger than his current wife…)
        She helped Zhang Yimou interpret on the set of the Flowers of War, he said.

    • If one spouse is childless before entering the marriage, the couple is allowed “another” child. And individual provinces have additional regulations regarding remarriage. In some regions where couples are allowed two children, if one spouse is a widow or widower and had previously had two children, the new couple might be eligible to have two children of their own. So, one could legally be the parent to four children.
      But I can’t think of a way for a Han, Chinese national to legally have seven children without adoption, quintuplets, or their children being born overseas.

      • A family member of my had her 2nd kid in HK instead of mainland, is that breaking the law? btw someone posted on the old forum that if both the parents are only child then they can have more then one? I know it doesn’t apply here but I’m just wondering.

        • If both parents are only child, then they can have more than one child. In addition, minorities can have more than one child. I think you’re also allowed to have an additional child if the first child has certain diseases/disorders.
          Does anyone know why did Tang Wei’s character have to give birth to a child in the U.S. in “Finding Mr.Right”? She said that she couldn’t get some sort of license in China for the child.

        • The One-Child Policy is only in effect in Mainland China, so giving birth in Hong Kong allows the mother to circumvent the restrictions. It was common for mothers in Guangdong to visit Hong Kong for that purpose (plus residency rights for the child) until caps were placed on Hong Kong hospitals last year.

          Contrary to popular belief, and popular resentment, ethnic minorities are not allowed to have as many children as they want. Except for maybe Tibetans, I think? Most urban minorities are limited to two. Urban Zhuang and urban Manchu, like the Han, are only allowed one child. And some groups, like Koreans, already have a lower birth rate than the Han, even with the exemptions.

        • Only the authorities in Wuxi are investigating, and it seems largely focused on his current wife. But if it’s only in Wuxi, I don’t think they’ll necessarily have the jurisdiction to go after his other children (how are his children… uh, distributed, amongst the four women, anyway?)
          Supposedly, it was a disgruntled business partner who ratted him out in the first place.

          But I’m not even sure how they calculated that figure. That would mean Zhang Yimou’s annual income is RMB80 million? That puts him higher than Huang Xiaoming…

  2. is that what that was about? I thought it was because he’s wife was 19 when they had their first child. And just to make it clear, he broke the law by having two sons not for having two children. I don’t understand why he didn’t just have the kid outside of China, then it’s technically not breaking the law.

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