Zhang was fined 7.48 million yuan (about USD 1.23 million) for violating China’s family planning policy, the family planning bureau of Binhu District of Wuxi City, Jiangsu Province, said. The bureau sent Zhang a letter demanding collection of the “social maintenance fee,” state-run Xinhua news agency quoted the district’s officials as saying. Zhang and his wife Chen Ting were fined after he acknowledged last month that they had parented two sons and a daughter. Zhang, one of the “fifth generation” of Chinese filmmakers, made his debut in 1987 with Red Sorghum and has won numerous awards worldwide. He was the chief director of the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympic Games.
After months of rumours that he had fathered as many as seven children with several different women, Zhang — who already has a daughter with his ex-wife — acknowledged in December that he has two sons and another daughter with his current wife — all born before they got married. The fine was much larger than those handed down to most violators of the one-child policy. China has initiated steps to relax its one-child policy recently after stringently implementing it for three decades during which the government claims to have reduced the birth of over 400 million. However, the steady rise of old population which has touched about 200 million as well as prospects of labour shortages made the government to rethink the policy and permitted one child couples to have a second child.