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Actress's Tax Case on Trial

A manager for a former Chinese film star who was arrested in a tax crackdown went on trial Friday on charges that one of the companies failed to pay US$1 million in taxes, China Central Television (CCTV) reported.

Actress Liu Xiaoqing was arrested in June 2002 but was released on bail a year later after paying back taxes. Her case is widely regarded as a crackdown on tax evasion by the elite who have benefited most from China's economic reforms.

On Friday, Jing Jun, general manager of Liu's Xiaoqing Culture Art Co., went on trial in Beijing's Chaoyang District Court on charges the company failed to pay 8.5 million yuan (US$1 million) in taxes, CCTV reported.

The report did not say what penalty Jing could face if convicted.

The Beijing Star Daily reported earlier this week that Liu was not expected to appear in court.

The trial was expected to last three days, the newspaper said.

Liu is best known for such films as Burning Down Yuan Ming Yuan and Look at This Family in the 1970s and 1980s.

But a large portion of her wealth came from off-screen businesses ranging from real estate to cosmetics.

She was listed two years ago by the U.S. business magazine Forbes as China's 45th-wealthiest individual, with up to US$70 million in assets.

Earlier this year, Xinhua reported that authorities had auctioned off 18 apartments and houses seized from Liu, raising 6.6 million yuan.

(Shenzhen Daily December 15, 2003)

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