Beijing has been busy in recent days preparing to implement President Xi Jinping's "Common Prosperity" agenda by shaking down social media influencers and China's biggest tech firms alike for contributions to the fund Xi is apparently raising to finance more economy-boosting projects in rural areas.
As we reported the other day, Beijing just fined one of the country's top streaming stars $210M and accused her of concealing income booked in 2019 and 2020. And just last night, it was reported that Tencent is being essentially forced to distribute $16 billion of shares from its holdings in JD.com to shareholders after getting the tap from the CCP that it's time to share some of its winnings, and also give up some control as the CCP fundamentally hopes to weaken the power held by individual tech firms and the billionaire founders who control them.
And now, tax authorities in Beijing and Shanghai are reminding social media influencers and anyone else in danger of being targeted by tax authorities that they have 10 more days to pay what they owe, or face severe punishment. The notice explicitly addresses "celebrities, internet influencers" and others who now find themselves in Beijing's sights.
Authorities published the warning in a notice, the SCMP reports.
"Celebrities, internet influencers and other public figures should strictly comply with tax regulations even more," the notice said. "Those refusing to self-assess their [tax obligation] or who have done so incorrectly will be severely punished by the tax bureau in accordance with the laws and regulations."
Some well-known influencers have publicly come forward to give tax money back under Beijing's amnesty program, which will be in place through the end of the year, while publishing apologies for misguidedly withholding the money, and praising the government's "common prosperity" agenda.
Others have come forward to deny rumors that they have been evading taxes. Actress Qi Wei, 37, who is managed by the same influencer talent company as Viya, the influencer who was hit with the $210M fine, issued a statement on Weibo Tuesday saying the rumors that she had also evaded taxes were false.
Did she not get the hint that Beijing doesn't really care how much they already paid - only that right now, it's the wealthy's turn to pony up.