Actress Zheng Shuang earns $22M for a film role before surrogacy scandal

By Nhu Anh   March 3, 2024 | 08:07 pm PT
Chinese actress Zheng Shuang was reported to have earned 156 million yuan (US$22 million) for starring in “A Chinese Ghost Story” before her surrogacy controversy emerged, according to an investigation by authorities.
Chinese actress Zheng Shuang. Photo from Zhengs fanpages Instagram

Chinese actress Zheng Shuang. Photo from Zheng's fanpage's Instagram

The National Business Daily on Feb. 29 revealed that the contract Zheng signed with the TV drama series’ production team, which included details of her payment, is being scrutinized due to a lawsuit involving both parties.

The revelation of Zheng’s salary has astounded many users on the Chinese internet. One Weibo user, Cishi, noted that an average worker making 10,000 yuan per month would need 1,300 years to match Zheng’s earnings.

However, others argue that her salary was justified by her former celebrity status.

Despite her substantial earnings, Zheng disclosed last month her financial ruin and inability to fulfill her debt obligations, even following a court mandate. She is indebted with tens of millions of dollars in compensation to film production firms due to her surrogacy scandal, which surfaced in 2021 and halted the broadcast of her projects. This includes a demand for 120 million yuan in damages for "Secret Keepers," a sum she is accused of deliberately evading.

Prior to the scandal, Zheng, 33, was among China’s top actresses.

Her former partner Zhang Heng, 34, revealed her surrogacy plans in the U.S. and her intentions to abandon the baby following their breakup.

The South China Morning Post highlights that while surrogacy is banned in China, some circumvent the law to seek surrogacy overseas, often facing domestic backlash.

Zheng was also penalized 299 million yuan for tax fraud in the same period.

Following her controversies, she relocated to the U.S., where she is now jobless and reliant on her parents’ retirement funds.

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