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China's most famous actress, Fan BingBing, used to boast that she did not need a wealthy family because she earned her own money. A multimillionaire with a string of hits behind her, she won roles in Hollywood blockbusters such as X-Men, repeatedly topped China’s list of celebrity earners and earned the honorific “master” — usually reserved for men — for her self-confidence and determination, writes Tom Hancock in a profile.

In June, she disappeared only to regain the spotlight this week when she was fined hundred of millions of renminbi for tax evasion. Some commentators have suggested that Ms Fan’s gender made her more vulnerable to a crackdown. Viewers saw parallels between Ms Fan and Wu Zetian, the only female emperor in Chinese history, whom she portrayed in a television drama. Wu was demonised by Chinese historians as ruthless and sexually assertive, part of a tradition of vilifying powerful women that has continued.

Glenn Hubbard writes that while Amazon's decision to raise what it pays low skilled workers, further progress on wage increases will require productivity improvements.

Sarah Sands explores how views of masculinity change when women hold the camera, based on her experiences at a dinner celebrating the photographer Mary McCartney’s guest editorship of National Geographic magazine.

Michael Skapinker writes that budget airlines thrive by being nasty, but their ultimate success depends on making the distinction between mistreating passengers, which can be profitable, and being mean to pilots, which is a mistake.

Robert Shrimsley argues that this week's Tory party conference provided UK prime minister Theresa May with an opportunity to dance towards an attractive alternative to Labour.

Best of the week

Brexiters misunderstand the European project— Martin Wolf

Sex, violence and the rise of populism— Gideon Rachman

Revamp global trade to match our new reality— Rana Foroohar

Boris Johnson and the flight to English nationalism— Philip Stephens

A lightbulb moment over Nobel Prizes for women— Anjana Ahuja

Imagining a new golden age for Spain after Brexit— Frederick Studemann

What made the US unique has become ordinary— Janan Ganesh

In other news, 10 FT columnists have been shortlisted for the Comment Awards. Check out the list here. The results are due out November 16.

What you've been saying

A policitised US judiciary will lose the people’s trust: from Néstor Enrique Cruz, Falls Church, VA, US

Judges should be chosen for their impartiality, not for their ideology. Both US parties have politicised the judiciary to such an extent that litigants are never sure whether their cases are decided on the facts and the law or on the tendencies of the judge. If this continues, another institution will lose the people’s trust.

In response to “Listed companies are less short-termist than previously thought” Nick Name says:

If large private companies were more successful than large public ones I'd expect to see a lot more of them.

Er . . . free movement directive covers just EU: letter from Hannah Doherty, London, UK

John Doherty ( Letters, October 1) remarks that he has lived on three continents and never relied on the EU Free Movement Directive. May I ask what relevance the other two continents have to the issue of movement within the EU?

Today's opinion

Charles Aznavour, singer, 1924-2018
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FT Alphaville: The big RMB reveal

The Top Line: Free Madoff, let Adoboli stay, but add atonement
More frankness and accountability would be a useful way to deal with white-collar crime

Theresa May dances towards an attractive alternative to Labour
Refashioning a popular capitalist agenda can be in the best Tory party traditions

Person in the News: Fan Bingbing, China’s screen empress, silenced
The country’s most successful film star has fallen foul of the authorities

Free Lunch: Lehman lessons
The biggest of bank failures teaches us not to avoid them but to manage them better

After Amazon’s pay move, improve productivity to increase wages
The Federal Reserve is not concerned about a sudden outbreak of inflation

The FT View: Understanding the business brain needs more than electrodes
While scientists study entrepreneurs, governments should nurture them

FT Alphaville: 'Short-termism' isn't a thing, say Fed economists

FT Alphaville: Further reading

Views of masculinity change when women hold the camera
While creating a fairer society, we should be careful about presenting a false one

Undercover Economist: Consumers’ digital struggles mirror haggling at the bazaar
Abuse of big data is the latest example of companies’ success in duping customers

FT View

The FT View: Unilever ignored big UK investors for too long
Government should woo consumer group to retain a British base

The FT View: Understanding the business brain needs more than electrodes
While scientists study entrepreneurs, governments should nurture them

The Big Read

The Big Read: GE: industrial stalwart contemplates a general overhaul
After decades of dealmaking, weakness in the power sector is forcing the company’s executives to consider radical changes

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