The Chinese media are now speculating that Fan Bingbing, pictured, set up fellow Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi. (File photo/CFP)
Well-known Chinese playwright and film critic Bi Chenggong said on his microblog that "a movie star" framed Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi of sleeping with Bo Xilai, the ousted former Communist Party secretary of Chongqing, in exchange for over US$100 million. Bi's comments have been interpreted by the Chinese media as a reference to actress and singer Fan Bingbing, according to our Chinese-language sister newspaper Want Daily.
Both Bi and Fan have denied the allegations. Zhang, meanwhile, has said that she will use legal channels to seek justice and will strike back at the person who spread the rumors. The Bo Xilai case — China's most dramatic political story in a generation — continues to dirty the names of Chinese luminaries.
Bi said on his microblog on May 31 that Zhang had been set up by others through a conspiracy that was planned long ago. The post also showed contempt for the "movie star."
"While purging someone who is better than herself mercilessly, [the actress] forgot to make herself stronger," he wrote. "Therefore, no matter how relentlessly she attacks her opponent, she is still inferior." Bi even said that the movie star in question has appeared in various international film festivals and secured endorsements for many major brands. He added that she hadn't been working as much lately, that she is notorious in entertainment circles and that virtually nobody in the industry wants to invite her to star in new films.
Bi also said that the star, not Zhang, is being kept as a mistress by a financial supporter.
Following Bi's post, some microbloggers attempted to match the description with Fan Bingbing. Another post said that there is a team of stars operating together to attack Zhang, hoping to launch a scandal before the release of her new film.
Rumors surrounding Fan are now bubbling to the surface. She has been accused of climbing the competitive entertainment ladder by putting others down, and some say she has been more or less rejected by the industry. Li Bingbing, who many see as Fan's main competitor in the industry, left a message on Zhang's microblog encouraging her to take legal measures to protect herself and clear the air.
Bi's post has since been deleted and he has fervently denied that he intended to implicate Fan. Fan's studio, meanwhile, said to reporters that there was nothing of relevance to reveal. Her manager, Mu Xiaoguang, didn't answer phone calls.
Zhang, 33, and 30-year-old Fan hit the big-time at almost the same time. The former became a star by performing in films by Chinese star director Zhang Yimou. She set foot on the international stage with Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Fan initially gained popularity from the TV series My Fair Princess.
Bi Chenggong 畢成功
Zhang Ziyi 章子怡
Fan Bingbing 范冰冰
Li Bingbing 李冰冰