House of Flying Daggers director Zhang Yimou has been fined more than seven million yuan (approximately £700,000) for violating China’s strict family planning rules by having three children.
According to district government officials in the eastern city of Wuxi, investigators probing into Zhang’s case concluded that he and his wife, Chen Ting, had broken strict regulations by having children without approval and before they were married.
The fines have been calculated in accordance with the couple’s incomes. The pair made around $580,000 in the three years their children were born (2000,2003, 2005), the Binhu district government reports.
Zhang and Chen have been given 30 days to pay up. Within this time, they could also file a court petition or seek administrative review.
In an interview with the Chinese state news agency Xinhua in December 2013, Zhang admitted to having three children- two sons and one daughter- with his second wife actress Chen Ting in order to end to speculation that he may have fathered up to seven children with four different women.
Zhang said his actions had damaged his reputation and insisted that he would take full responsibility for breaching the country's one-child policy.
The Golden Lion-winning director, who is known for films such as the House of Flying Daggers and The Road Home, added that having children brought happiness to the couple but has ultimately led to a life of secrecy and hiding.
“My father told me prior to his death that he hoped I could have a son to continue the family line and my mother also believed that with more children, they could have more companions,” he said.
“As a public figure, I and my wife must assist the sweeping investigations by the family planning authorities and also are willing to make a public apology.”
Zhang’s apology comes after the Chinese government announced plans that will allow couples to have a second child if one parent is an only child, signalling the first major easing in the country's strict birth planning policy implemented in the early 80s.