When, suddenly and without explanation, Fan Bingbing, China’s most famous actress and its highest-paid celebrity, vanished, in July, conspiracy theories abounded. Had she been abducted? Was she in exile? Or had “the No. 1 beauty under the heavens,” as she is known, been having an affair with the Vice-President, and been forced into hiding? In China, where the movie industry favors fantasies and mysteries, the story of Fan’s disappearance suggested the kind of thriller in which she herself might star. But, last week, after an absence of more than three months, she resurfaced to issue a statement that could have earned her a part in a well-known TV drama series: the coerced public apology.