Authorities are investigating whether one of China’s top film directors fathered seven children in violation of the country’s strict family planning laws, state media and a local official said Thursday.
Reports circulated online this week that Zhang Yimou, director of The Flowers of War starring Christian Bale and also known as the architect of the opening ceremony for the Beijing Olympics, has seven children from his two marriages and from relationships with two other women.
“We are trying to confirm the online rumors,” said a woman at the general office of Wuxi city’s family planning committee, a department under the municipal government. The woman, who declined to identify herself as is customary among Chinese officials, said she couldn’t reveal any other information until authorities had finished investigating.
Zhang, 61, reportedly could face a fine of up to 160 million yuan ($26 million), said the People’s Daily newspaper, the Communist Party mouthpiece. People caught breaking China’s family planning policy must pay a “social compensation fee” based on their annual income. READ FULL STORY