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Award-winning director accused of breaking China's 'one child' policy, faces $26 million fine

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Yimou Zhang
Yimou Zhang

Celebrated Chinese film director Zhang Yimou (pictured right) could face fines totalling 160 million yuan ($26 million) following reports he broke family planning laws in China by fathering more than one child. According to the WSJ, Zhang — who directed Hero, The House of Flying Daggers, and designed the opening ceremony for the Beijing Olympics — is under investigation in the city of Wuxi, located in China’s Jiangsu province, for reportedly fathering as many as seven children.

China's one-child policy restricts urban couples to one child (exempting rural families if their first child is a girl) to limit its expanding population and help bring it out of poverty. Zhang is suspected of having more than one child with his two wives and two other women, and the situation has questions over China's treatment of wealthy citizens that break its family planning laws. While some are charged double their annual income, many escape fines altogether. Jiangsu's provincial family planning commission confirmed to the WSJ that Zhang is under investigation, stating that it didn't "know yet how [it] will deal with it, if it turns out to be true."