Internationally acclaimed Chinese film director Zhang Yimou has apologised to the government for breaking the country’s strict one-child policy, claiming that he has three children and not seven as several recent reports had claimed.
One of China’s most well known film personalities, Zhang and his wife, Chen Ting, issued an online statement saying that they have two sons and a daughter.
Zhang is well known for directing movies like the Red Sorghum – based on Chinese literature noble laureate, Mo Yan -- Hero and the recent Flowers of War, starring Hollywood star, Christian Bale.
He also directed the dazzling opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic in 2008.
Zhang’s confession comes within weeks of China announcing that it was softening the often reviled one-child policy in place for decades since the late 1970s.
Chinese couples, except those exempt from it like some minority groups, breaking the law are liable to be fined hundreds of thousands of RMB by the government.
Zhang has easily been one of the more famous personalities suspected of flouting the norms.
Zhang released a statement through his studio's Weibo (Chinese Twitter) account, saying he will cooperate with authorities to address the issue.
“Zhang Yimou and wife Chen Ting have two sons and one daughter," the statement said, "They are willing to fully cooperate with authorities and accept the investigation by the Wuxi municipal family planning commission. They will bear any punishment according to national rules and regulations. They sincerely apologise to the public for any negative consequences caused by this,” the statement said.
The statement criticised those who had spread rumours about the number of children he had fathered.
The government on Tuesday confirmed that Zhang had three children.
“The couple's three children were born in Beijing in 2001, 2004 and 2006 without approval certificates from family planning authorities, said the family planning bureau of the Binhu District of Wuxi City, Jiangsu Province. Zhang and Chen were officially married in September 2011,” state media reported.
The report said: “(We) hope the party (the couple) will continue to cooperate actively and truthfully declare their real incomes in relevant years so that (we) can deal with the case according to law and announce the results to the public in time."