In Western media coverage, she’s denoted as “the Chinese Angelina Jolie,” with an adoring fan-base that knows no borders. Last year, there were only four other actresses in the world who made more money per project than she. She’s considered one of the most influential public figures in China, who is also speculated to be an enemy of their government. Her name is Fan BingBing, and she has not been seen in public since June of 2018.
Western filmgoers will recognize her from popular film franchises from the Marvel Studios universe, such as X-Men: Days of Future Past in which she portrayed Blink, a portal-jumping mutant who made an impression on American audiences. But on the other side of the world, Fan Bingbing had been cultivating a celebrity image since her teen years, starring in Chinese film and television. In 2017, TIME Magazine placed her on their list of 100 Most Influential People. She’s also slated to star alongside Jessica Chastain in an upcoming Western spy thriller called 355. There’s just one problem: No one can find her.
No one has laid eyes on Fan since June, and the last public statement made by the actress came from a social media platform akin to Twitter—her Weibo account. A comment in a Chinese securities newspaper following that post said Fan Bingbing had been “placed under control and will accept legal judgement.” The article was not on the website long. It was taken down, and its existence scrubbed from the site and all the site’s social media.
Fan BingBing’s disappearance has created a conversation in the Western world about how a Chinese national’s involvement with the American entertainment industry can make them an enemy of the socialist state. One of the widely-propagated stories about the actress’s disappearance is that she is flying under the radar amid accusations of tax-evasion. But how exactly does someone, whose fame is equated to that of Angelina Jolie, manage to disappear completely from public life? Many theorize that the answer lies within the Chinese government.
China’s film industry is heavily regulated by the government, as they consider the industry to have a direct effect on its people and their morals. “The entire entertainment industry, and its rise and fall are determined by the politics, ideology, and the likes and dislikes of [China’s] leaders. This has become more obvious in recent years,” said Qiao Mu, an independent political and media analyst based in Washington, DC. Just recently, the film Crazy Rich Asians was denied release in China, with officials citing the film’s glorification of “money worship” and the negative effect it would have on the country’s youth. Consequently, if film is believed to heavily influence the public, so do the actors involved. According to Stanley Rosen, a professor at the University of Southern California who studies the Chinese film industry, control is key for the government, ““The basic point is to intimidate celebrities with large followings so that they are not too independent and serve as an alternative voice on issues of public import.”
If Fan Bingbing is indeed guilty of tax-evasion, it’s no mystery why the Chinese government would be interested in her whereabouts; however, there are many who believe her disappearance has nothing to do with tax-evasion, and that Fan Bingbing is likely in the confines of what is known as a “black jail.” Peter Dahlin, a Swedish human rights attorney who was detained for almost a month in a black jail in 2016, was quoted in TIME, “The world has never known the numbers of disappearances that we see today in China.” TIME also reported that national security and local law enforcement are now authorized to detain individuals at undisclosed locations for a period of up to six months. This is a familiar scenario to those familiar with the work of Chinese artist and activist, Ai Weiwei, who was also detained for three months by government officials. His supposed crime? Tax-evasion.
Just as supporters turned out for Ai Weiwei when he disappeared in 2011, Fan Bingbing’s droves of adoring fans continue to cry out for answers. Last Sunday, a birthday hashtag for Fan reached an audience of 64 million, a testament to her continued influence and impact throughout the globe. It was reposted more than 30,000 times, bearing a message of hope from her beloved fans, “We will wait for you.”
Carie McMichael is the Communication and Media Specialist for Lauth Investigations International, a private investigation firm based in Indianapolis, Indiana–delivering proactive and diligent solutions for over 30 years. For more information, please visit our website.
Elaine Park went missing on January 28, 2017 in Calabasas, Calif.
It’s every parent’s worst fear their child may be harmed while venturing into the world on their own. But, what parent could imagine “not knowing” where her only child is for nearly two years. That is the nightmare, Susan Park, the mother of missing actress Elaine Park is living.
Elaine Park, now 22, vanished on January 28, 2017, after she was last seen leaving her boyfriend’s home in Calabasas, Calif.
Her unlocked charcoal-gray 2015 Honda Civic was found at Corral Beach in Malibu, parked on the shoulder of Pacific Coast Highway, with keys still in the ignition. Inside the car was her cell phone, backpack and a laptop inside, makeup, and money.
Prior to her disappearance, Elaine looked forward to attending Los Angeles Pierce College and continuing to pursue her acting career. She loved performing in dance companies and musical theater. She had already appeared in small parts on E.R., Mad TV, Desperate Housewives, Crazy Stupid Love and Role Models.
The night Elaine went missing, her boyfriend Divine “Div” Compere told police he and Elaine had gone to a movie and returned home by Uber at approximately 1 a.m. that evening. His story was later confirmed on surveillance camera.
Div Compere is the son of Hollywood businessman Shakim Compere who co-owns Flavor Unit Entertainment with Queen Latifah.
Compere also told authorities that Elaine abruptly woke up at about 4 a.m., shaking and singing which he said was probably due to a panic attack. Surveillance captures Elaine walking to her car two hours later at 6 a.m., not appearing distressed. Then the camera shows Elaine’s vehicle leaving the Compere Compound, a large secured property near the 2600 block of Delphine Lane in the rugged Coldwater Canyon of Calabasas, Calif.
Elaine Park’s vehicle was found along the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu
A resident of La Crescenta, a good 30-minute drive northeast of Cold Water Canyon to her home, Elaine’s car was found 20-minutes southwest at a Corral Canyon Beach pull out.
Police conducted an intensive ground search of the area with canines but found nothing. No information has surfaced to explain why Elaine would have driven in this direction.
Corral Canyon Beach along the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu Calif.)
“It’s suspicious in the way that we found her car, her cell phone and things, in the manner we did,” Glendale Police Sgt., Robert William told Dateline. “We can’t rule foul play in or out because plain and simple, we don’t have any evidence to do so.”
Elaine Park’s gray Honda Civic founded unattended alongside Pacific Coast Highway SR 1.
Days and months have passed with no sign of Elaine. Now, nearly two years without her daughter, “As days go by, my hope finding her gets cloudy and losing hope,” says Susan Park. “It is very difficult to be in the same house with her shadow lingering with her laughter and my visual memories.”
Park has worked tirelessly to remind the public her daughter is missing, raising reward money and working with private investigators.
To date, Park is uncertain if investigating agency Glendale Police Department has et to “unlock” Elaine’s cell phone. The private investigator initially hired is no longer working the case.
Though Compere was ruled out as a suspect early on, Park is not satisfied that he has no knowledge of her daughter’s disappearance as he stated to detectives.
In a saddened tone and only the heartbreak a mother of a missing person would know, “There are no new developments except the $140K reward has been extended until the end of this year,” said Park.
Elaine Park vanished into thin air on Jan. 28, 2017, from Calabasas, the gateway to the Santa Monica Mountains located in Los Angeles County, Calif.
Elaine is a beautiful 21-year-old Korean-American young woman who is described as spunky, outgoing by those who know her. Before her disappearance, she had been looking forward to attending Pierce College. A young lady who loves performing in musical theater and dance companies. She has also worked hard to pursue her dreams as an actress.
Elaine has appeared in several roles in TV shows and some movies including Crazy Stupid Love, Role Models, E.R. Mad TV, and Desperate Housewives. Not yet a household name, she was certainly headed in that direction.
In a Hollywood Reporter article “Search for Missing Actress Intensifies as $250,000 Cash Reward Offered”, according to the family’s private investigator Jayden Brant located in Beverly Hills, Elaine’s case is classified as an “unwilling missing person” by authorities and foul play is suspected.
According to the FBI National Crime Information Center, as of Oct. 31, 2017, there were 87,643 active missing person cases in the United States. In Calif., there are 19,431 active missing person cases, with 1,829 classified as “Involuntary” and another 4,234 classified as “Endangered” within six categories of entry in the national database.
Elaine had stayed the night with her boyfriend Divine “Div” Compere. Compere is the son of Hollywood businessman Shakim Compere, who co-owns Flavor Unit Entertainment with Queen Latifa.
Compere told police that he and Elaine had gone to a movie the night before she mysteriously vanished and returned to his home at 1:00am that evening, taking Uber and later confirmed on surveillance. Compere also claims at approximately 4:00 am, Elaine suddenly woke up shaking and singing which he attributed to a panic attack. Surveillance captures Elaine walking to her car two hours later, not appearing distressed. Video also shows Elaine’s vehicle leaving Divine’s compound, near the 2600 block of Delphine Lane in the rugged Coldwater Canyon of Calabasas.
A resident of La Cresenta, Calif., Elaine was reported missing two days later when family became concerned she had not returned home, calls or responded to texts.
As reported in an NBC Dateline interview, “Mother Appeals for Continued Help in Search for Missing California Daughter,” Elaine’s mother Susan Parks said, “I called (police) and, because of her age, the police thought she had just not contacted me. So, I thought, OK, just wait one more day. But my fear kept growing. The official report was made Monday.”
Police had initially considered Elaine to be voluntarily missing until Feb 2, when Elaine’s charcoal gray 2015 Honda Civic, was found abandoned in a desolate area, approximately 20 miles away, along Hwy 1-Pacific Coast Highway just south of Corral Canyon Rd., in Malibu.
The vehicle’s doors were unlocked with keys still in the ignition. Personal belongings were found inside, including her keys, backpack, cell phone, purse, makeup, cash and laptop.
Police conducted a ground search with bloodhounds along the cliffs and shore but there was no sign of Elaine in the area
Elaine’s car was found along Pacific Coast Highway, near Corral Canyon.
“It’s suspicious in the way that we found her car, her cell phone and things, in the manner we did,” Glendale Police Sgt. Robert William told Dateline. “We can’t rule foul play in or out because plain and simple, we don’t have any evidence to do so.”
Authorities have said the boyfriend has been cooperative and not considered a suspect, but theories and suspicion abound on Internet sleuth sites.
At a news conference, Elaine’s mother Susan Park said, “It’s completely a mystery, unimaginable. How can someone just disappear without a trace?” Park has made numerous public pleas for help to find her missing daughter including an emotional plea and “time-limited” $500,000 reward offered for information.
Rolling Stone writer Neil Strauss, partnered with Incubus guitarist Mike Einziger to raise awareness wearing T-shirts with “Find Elaine Park.” Einziger, along with his wife Marie who live in the area where Elaine went missing. Appearing on KROQ, they asked the public for help to keep the search for Elaine going.
Marie Einziger, Incubus guitarist Mike Einziger, and Rolling Stone writer Neil Strauss – Courtesy KROQ
Now, with the $500,000 reward expired, along with lack of leads, Elaine’s family and friends are even more desperate to find her. The family has created a presence on social media with a Facebook page “Help Find Elaine Park” dedicated to the continued search for information that may help find her. Her mother has posted fliers and searched places Elaine loved to go, including the boardwalks. The family is doing what they can, but they need additional help.
“Missing person investigations can be quite complex, and one must always think outside the box during an investigation,” says private investigator and MissingLeads.com contributor Thomas Lauth. Lauth has over two decades private investigation experience on missing person cases and headquartered in Ind. “As important as it is to pound the pavement to obtain information, I can’t stress enough, the importance of engaging the public in the search for a missing person. Many crimes are solved by raising awareness, generating that one lead, and social media is a vital tool.”
In Andy Nguyen’s report in the L.A. Times, “$250K reward offered in missing LaCresenta missing woman’s disappearance,” family private investigator Jayden Brant says, “It’s our strong contention that Elaine Park is an involuntary missing person and that foul play is involved in her disappearance.”
The passing months torturous for Elaine’s mother Susan, enduring having her child missing, one of the most traumatic of human experiences. With only the strength a mother could muster, Susan Park remains focused on finding answers, most importantly and no matter the outcome focused on bringing her daughter home.