'Crouching Tiger' actor wants apology for courtesan claims
WELL-KNOWN CHINESE actor Zhang Ziyi is demanding an apology from Hong Kong’s Apple Daily newspaper after it published claims she had sex with a former member of China’s politburo, Bo Xilai, for huge sums of money.
The Chinese blogosphere has been abuzz with speculation over the latest furore surrounding the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon star.
Without offering any sources, the paper repeated allegations published on US-based news website Boxun.comsaying Ms Zhang slept with Mr Bo at least 10 times between 2007 and 2011.
The reports claim she negotiated similar deals with several other powerful men, including Mr Bo’s close ally Xu Ming, a billionaire tycoon whom the Chinese authorities are investigating for alleged corruption. They allege she earned about €88 million over the years from working as a high-class courtesan.
Bo Xilai, whose populist policies won him many supporters, fell from grace after his wife Gu Kailai became a suspect in the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood last year.
Ms Zhang (33) ignored the allegations when she appeared at the 10th Chinese Film Media Awards last week. However, she later called the claims “completely untrue”. “We read this outrageous report in the Apple Daily. It sent stone-cold chills down our spines and has left us with a feeling of deep sadness,” her publicist said in a statement.
The speculation took on fresh impetus at Cannes this year, where she was not present to promote her latest film, the unfortunately titled Dangerous Liaisons. There were reports she was not allowed to travel because she was now part of the investigation into Mr Bo.
“Friends have advised us to release a short statement and not take this seriously. The more you argue, the more you will stir up. It would be better to step aside until people lose interest and the lies disappear. The innocent will always be innocent,” the statement continued. There are now further rumours that a rival actor started the speculation.
Ms Zhang famously went around Cannes in 2008 with a pillowcase collecting money to help the victims of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, and there was uproar months later when much of the cash was reported missing. She was forced to make up the missing money.