Img214590708You know how sometimes in Hollywood a celebrity will do something illegal and completely get away with it? The director of Hero had better hope the same rules apply in Beijing.


As we reported earlier, famed Chinese director Zhang Yimou became the subject of an incriminating rumor that he had violated China’s notorious one child-policy by having as many as seven children with four or more wives. After several months of investigation and no word on the matter from the director himself, Zhang took to his official Weibo account to address the allegations. In an open letter issued from his office, Zhang admits that he did, in fact, father more than one child with his wife, Chen Ting. The two had three children in all: two sons, and a daughter.


The Chinese director is now fully prepared to cooperate with the investigation, going so far as to send representatives to the family planning office in the Binhu district of Wuxi. In addition to confirming that he has one or two children too many, Zhang goes on in his letter to deny having any further children with any other women. He goes on to say that any speculation that he fathered seven children and paid the mothers off is simply people trying to bring him down. Besides, seven kids? No one but ancient monarchs and Stellan Skarsgard do that.


If proven guilty (which he omitted to), Zhang will have to pay what is called a “social compensation fee,” which could run him up to $26 million. And you thought your child support payments were steep.


Zhang YimouMost of us are well aware of China’s one-child rule, the nationwide policy to prevent overpopulation by limiting families to producing a single offspring.  Intentionally or not, Zhang Yimou, the acclaimed director of Hero and House of Flying Daggers, has brought notoriety to the population-controlling rule by having as many as 7 children with 4 different women. If these reports are to be believed, Zhang could find himself the center point in a massive controversy.


China’s one-child policy has roots that date back to the first half of the 1900s. While under the leadership of Mao Zedong, the people of China were encouraged to multiply as much as they desired to overcome infant high mortality rates and low life expectancies of the time. Mao also believed that the higher the population, the stronger his country would be. As a result, China’s population increased to nearly a billion in the 1970s. After the exponential population increase, the Chinese government forged the one-child rule, and began enforcing it later in the same decade.


While there are exceptions to China’s policy on reproduction, generally it will only allow a second child before you are cut off from all breeding privileges. Zhang allegedly has had 3 children with his current wife, Chen Ting, one child with his first wife, Xiao Hua, and 3 more from two unidentified women. Though an offense like violating the one-child law is hardly punishable by imprisonment, it is typical enforced with a heavy fine and loss of work-related benefits. If the reports of Zhang’s reproductive habits prove true, he could be facing a fine as big as 160 million yuan, or 26 million in U.S. dollars.


Since news of the popular director’s extended family hit China, its people have been hitting up social media to point out how a rich and famous individual could so blatantly undermine a law that applies to every Chinese citizen. Weibo is on fire with users who are openly irate that someone with fame and fortune could easily maneuver around China’s laws and go unpunished. Assuming Zhang is the father of 7 children and suffers no legal consequences for his unlawful multiplication, it would hardly be the first time a public figure to be granted amnesty in the midst of controversy. If you disagree, look up anything Lindsay Lohan has done in the past 10 years.