One of China’s top film directors is being investigated for allegedly fathering seven children in violation of the country’s strict one-child policy.
Reports circulated online this week that Zhang Yimou, the director of The Flowers of War, has seven children from his two marriages and from relationships with two other women.
“We are trying to confirm the online rumours,” 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, could face a fine of up to 160 million renminbi ($17m), according to the People’s Daily newspaper. People caught breaking China’s family-planning policy must pay a “social compensation fee” based on their annual income.