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Chinese government to verify salaries of cast and production before broadcast

The Chinese government is swiftly continuing its crackdown on the entertainment industry with shows now being required to declare how much the cast is paid to avoid actors being overpaid.

The Beijing Municipal Radio and Television Bureau has announced that all dramas are required to declare its production costs which need to be verified, before being allowed to broadcast. It’s believed that the latest move is to avoid actors being overpaid. Moreover, drama production companies are now legally responsible for any violation of laws or regulations.

Previously, drama production companies used “yin-yang contracts” to work with celebrities. For example, one official contract with a lower declared value would be submitted to the authorities for tax purposes, while one or more other contract will pay the actors or actresses additional sums of money. In 2018, film star Fan Bingbing, who had been out of the public eye for months, agreed to pay ¥884 million (US$129 million) in unpaid taxes, fines, and penalties for tax-related offences. She was widely reported that she used a “yin-yang contract” to conceal her real earnings.

Meanwhile, Zheng Shuang was reported to have made four contracts with the producers of A Chinese Ghost Story and was paid ¥160 million (US$24.74 million) for 77 days of work, which worked out to about ¥2 million (US$ 309,300) a day.

Meanwhile, the guidelines from the Chinese authority also stated that the amount allocated for salaries of the actors or actresses must be within a certain percentage of the drama’s total production cost. Although this percentage has not been revealed, a recommendation made last year stated that the total cast salary should be within only 40% of a drama’s total production cost. Moreover, the main actors’ combined salaries should also be within just 10% of the drama’s total production cost.

The Chinese government has been cracking down the entertainment industry. For example, state broadcaster CCTV heavily criticised fan clubs and the “malicious fandom” culture again, exploring the hierarchy and behaviour of fan clubs. Some fans were encouraged to consume and created conflicts online, attacking other celebrities online or asking other people to attack other stars.

The programme interviewed a fan, who said some platforms even encouraged fans to buy digital magazines featuring their favourite celebrities’ essays, pictures and videos. Fans were also told that buying up a certain number of products could help their idols look good, so some of them will buy hundreds of copies to boost sales. The CCTV programme said although fandom used to be a neutral word, a distorted fandom culture can create enormous harm. Marketing Interactive

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