Level 1 | Level 2| Level 3

China has recently created a policy against actors’ pay. The new policy puts a cap on how much they can be paid. According to the new rule, actors cannot be paid more than 40% of total production costs and lead actors cannot be paid more than 70% of the total casting cost.

The announcement comes after a recently heated debate on celebrity pay in China. The debate sparked in May after a TV presenter by the name of Cui Yonyuan posted a controversial tweet. The tweet contained a contract that he claimed was between Fan Bingbing, China’s most famous actress, and a movie studio. The contract was worth $1.6m. Yonyuan went on to accuse many celebrities of signing two contracts with studios and only reporting the lower-valued one to the government in order to evade taxes. These types of contracts are called “yin and yang contracts”.

Fan Bingbing and her studio have denied the TV presenter’s accusations. The studio has also threatened him with legal action. In early June, this motivated the Chinese government to begin an investigation into tax evasion in the film and TV industry.

Tax evasion is not the only motivation the Chinese government has said contributed to the new pay cap. The government says they also want to tackle “sky-high pay” and “money worship“. They say these things have “damaged the health of the film and TV industry” and caused youth to “blindly” chase celebrities, along with producing “distorted values”.

The Chinese government has told studios that they should “prioritise benefits to society” more than “just box office returns”.

The government does not get involved in actors’ pay in most other film industries such as Hollywood and Bollywood. However, the Chinese government plays a more hands on role in many different industries throughout China.

The Chinese entertainment industry has been a growing focus to international studios because of the amount of Chinese theatre-goers. Some experts believe China could soon be home to the world’s largest film market, causing many international productions, such as those in Hollywood, to adapt their content to the Chinese viewer.

Difficult words

Cap: A limit.

Evade: To try and avoid something.

Yin and Yang: Two opposites.

Accusations: The act of saying someone performed a crime.

Threaten: To say you will do something bad to someone if they do not do something for you.

Contribute: To help or add to.

Tackle: To fight a problem.

Worship: To strongly adore.

Prioritise: To make something more important.

Box office: The place where people buy movie tickets.

Hands on: To be directly involved.

Adapt: To change something to suit someones needs.

Activities

For listening practise, listen to the recorded article here:

British English: Coming Soon!

American English: Coming Soon!

Match the Synonym!

1. Cap A. Adore
2. Evade B. Opposite
3. Yin and Yang C. Ticket office
4. Threaten D. Avoid
5. Contribute E.  Limit
6. Tackle F. Change
7. Worship G. Intimidate
8. Box Office H. Add
9. Adapt I.  Fight

True or False?

1.  China has recently increased actors’ pay. T / F

2. Lead actors cannot be paid more than 70% of total production costs. T / F

3. Many people in Japan have been discussing celebrity pay recently. T / F

4. The debate started after a TV presenter posted a tweet. T / F

5. The tweet contained a picture of a famous Chinese actress. T / F

6. The tweet said some celebrities in China sign three contracts with studios.  T / F

7. The accused studio might sue the TV presenter. T / F

8.  The Chinese government doesn’t like how young people adore celebrities. T / F

9.  China has a very small film market. T / F

10. International studios are adapting their movies for Chinese audiences.  T / F

Unscramble the sentence!

1. against / recently / has / created / a / actors’ / policy / pay / China

2. The / debate / a / recently / announcement / heated / after / comes

3. of / types / contracts / are / contracts” / These / “yin and yang / called

4. accusations / studio / have / TV presenter’s / her / Fan Bingbing / the / and / denied

5. industry / growing / entertainment / Chinese / has / been / The / a / focus

Listening and Vocabulary

Listen to the article and fill in the words OR practice vocabulary and fill in the words.

British English: Coming Soon!

American English: Coming Soon!

Focus Adapt Against
Accuse Heated  Prioritise
Evasion  Industries  Motivated

China has recently created a policy ____________ actors’ pay. The new policy puts a cap on how much they can be paid. According to the new rule, actors cannot be paid more than 40% of total production costs and lead actors cannot be paid more than 70% of the total casting cost.

The announcement comes after a recently __________ debate on celebrity pay in China. The debate sparked in May after a TV presenter by the name of Cui Yonyuan posted a controversial tweet. The tweet contained a contract that he claimed was between Fan Bingbing, China’s most famous actress, and a movie studio. The contract was worth $1.6m. Yonyuan went on to ____________ many celebrities of signing two contracts with studios and only reporting the lower-valued one to the government in order to evade taxes. These types of contracts are called “yin and yang contracts”.

Fan Bingbing and her studio have denied the TV presenter’s accusations. The studio has also threatened him with legal action. In early June, this _____________ the Chinese government to begin an investigation into tax evasion in the film and TV industry.

Tax ______________ is not the only motivation the Chinese government has said contributed the new pay cap though. The government says they also want to tackle “sky-high pay” and “money worship“. They say these things have “damaged the health of the film and TV industry” and caused youth to “blindly” chase celebrities, along with producing “distorted values”.

The Chinese government have told studios that they should “______________ benefits to society” more than “just box office returns”.

The government does not get involved in actors’ pay in most other film industries such as Hollywood and Bollywood. However, the Chinese government plays a more hands on role in many different _______________ throughout China.

The Chinese entertainment industry has been a growing ________ to international studios because of the amount of Chinese theatre-goers. Some experts believe China could soon be home to the world’s largest film market, causing many international productions, such as those in Hollywood, to __________ their content to the Chinese viewer.

Conversation Questions

Take turns speaking with a partner or try to answer on your own:

1. Did you find this article interesting? Why or why not?
2. Did you learn anything new from this article? If so, what?
3. What do you think about China’s new policy?
4. Do you think celebrities get paid too much?
5. How are celebrities treated in your country?
6.  Do you think people worship celebrities too much?
7. Do you think famous people evade taxes in your country?
8. Was it wrong for these celebrities to make two contracts?
9. If you were them, would you try to evade taxes?
10. Do you know what taxes are spent on in your country?
11. Would you like to be able to choose exactly where your tax money goes?
12. Would you prefer to live in a country with no taxes?
13. Are the tax rates high in your country?
14. Do you think the government should control how much people get paid?
15.  Do you think movie studios should think more about the welfare of society?
16. Do you think China will become the world’s biggest film market?
17. How is the film and TV industry in your country?
18. Do you watch domestic or international films more?
19. Who do you think will have the biggest film industry in 50 years from now?
20. Should there be more regulations on celebrities?