Uh oh, it looks like actress Lareina Song Zuer might be joining the ranks of celebs in trouble with the law. On August 31, news that the young actress’s company was allegedly reported for tax evasion started trending online. According to reports, a whistleblower who media identified as a former employee, alleges that the actress evaded paying taxes amounting up to RMB 45 million (roughly US$ 6.1 million).
Although the actress and her current agency have yet to release a statement about this, her previous agency Top High (Xitian) 喜天影视, already denied that any of their staff was the whistleblower to the case. In their statement released at noon today, they also asserted that their contract with Song Zuer expired on November 28, 2022 and that the actress and her family have taken over managing her financial affairs as early as 2020. They claimed that they have no participation and visibility of her financial and statutory affairs since then.
Four Companies Down to One
Another reason why the allegations have gained traction is due to reports that three companies associated with the former child actress have closed down. According to online database Tianyancha 天眼查, Song Zuer whose real name is said to be Sun Fanqing 孙凡清 was associated with four companies, but only one company (泓泉影视文化公司成) established in December 2020 where the actress holds a 10% stake remains. Meanwhile, it was also trending earlier today that a tax representative has said that they have not received any report. However, there’s also a trending hashtag indicating that the State Taxation Administration will be conducting an audit on the actress. Given all these speculations, many are urging the actress or her studio to issue a statement to shut down the rumours.
Paying the Price
In recent years, tax compliance has become a serious concern in the entertainment industry. For celebs who’ve been found guilty, you only have to look at their careers post-scandal, most of which never truly recovered to its former prestige. Even Chinese mega star Fan Bingbing didn’t escape the repercussions caused by her tax scandal to her once flourishing career. Although the actress makes the occasional appearance in fashion shows with brief forays into acting, she’d mostly avoided getting back into Chinese mainstream media. And as for other stars who’ve been “cancelled” like Zheng Shuang, Deng Lun, influencer Viya, etc, it’s unclear whether they can even make a comeback. Meanwhile, Yuan Bingyan’s case is a bit different in that she’s associated with a company that was found to have evaded taxes. Although she remains active on social media, her upcoming dramas haven’t been able to air.
Lareina Song Zuer is set to appear in four major dramas such as The Demon Hunter’s Romance 无忧渡 with Allen Ren Jialun, The Prisoner of Beauty 折腰 with Liu Yuning, Reading Class 阅读课 with Neo Hou and Created in China 艰难的制造 with Zhang Xincheng. Update Sep 1: It is reported that the actress’s name can no longer be found when doing a search on the Weibo accounts of major Chinese broadcast networks Beijing TV, Hunan TV, Zhejiang TV, Jiangsu TV and Anhui TV.