1. ITV Report

Where is Fan Bingbing, one of China's biggest stars who has been missing for months?

Credit: AP

She earns tens of millions of dollars for her acting roles, has countless social media followers and is one of China's biggest stars - but seemingly no one knows where in the world Fan Bingbing is.

Best known internationally for her role as Blink in 2014's "X-Men: Days of Future Past", the 37-year-old was reportedly booked to star alongside Penelope Cruz in Hollywood spy thriller "355" and has a role in director Xiao Feng's upcoming film "Air Strike" featuring Bruce Willis and Adrien Brody.

She has been a household name in China for many years, accumulating more than 62 million followers on Chinese microblogging service Weibo.

But Fan has been missing from the public eye for three months following a tax scandal over celebrities under-reporting their earnings.

  • What is the scandal about?
Fan Bingbing played Blink in 2014's 'X-Men: Days of Future Past'. Credit: X-Men: Days of Future Past/20th Century Fox

Unconfirmed reports circulating online suggested Fan and her fiancé Li Chen were barred from leaving China as authorities looked into claims she was given dual contracts for her work: a public one giving her official salary and a private one stating her actual, much higher, pay.

Recent Chinese media reports have said neither Fan, her production company nor her agent can be reached, boosting speculation that all were caught up in the probe.

However, in a June 3 statement, Fan's production company said she had never signed any so-called "ying-yang" contract, so named because of their dual natures.

One of China's wealthiest entertainers, Fan earned tens of millions of dollars for her roles, along with huge sums in appearance fees and for product endorsements.

It is those contracts that appear to have landed her and her fiancé in hot water with Chinese authorities.

Credit: AP

Following the allegations, multiple brands pulled out of deals linked to the actor.

Chinese authorities have sought to rein in high salaries for actors that can eat up much of a production's budget. In June, regulators capped pay at 40 per cent of a TV show's production budget and 70 per cent of the total paid to the actors in films.

  • So what has happened to Fan?

She was last seen in public at the start of July and disappeared from social media amid rumours she had been barred from leaving the country during the tax evasion investigation.

Li Chen has not updated his Weibo account since July 6.

At Fan's management's office in Beijing, the doors are locked, the lights are out and a calendar on a cabinet still displays the month of July. A worker at an office across the hall said she couldn't remember the last time she had seen anyone enter the premises.

At Fan's management's office a calendar still displays the month of July. Credit: AP

Fan turned 37 on September 16, but only a handful of celebrities sent greetings online, a stark contrast from the past when her birthday celebrations were grand, marked last year by a public marriage proposal from Li.

Over the summer her mysterious vanishing prompted many questions, causing people to turn to social media for answers - but there have been few so far.

"A person with such a big fan base, fame, high income and strong influence, one who seems so rich, has actually gone missing in modern China, in 2018, in an open China. This is a problem in itself", Chinese columnist and commentator Shi Shusi told the Associated Press.

With no trace of such a superstar anywhere to be found, the debate about her fate is likely to rumble on for some time.

Fan Bingbing with Jessica Chastain and Will Smith at the 2017 Cannes film festival. Credit: AP