Zhang Ziyi at the Cannes Film Festival on May 10. (Photo/CFP)
The Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi has slammed rumors claiming that she had sex with Bo Xilai, the deposed former party secretary of Chongqing, and made 700 million yuan (US$110 million) from sleeping with other Chinese officials. Zhang has said she will seek legal action over the claims, reports our sister newspaper China Times.
A number of reports including the Taiwan edition of the Hong Kong-based newspaper Apple Daily on Monday cited a story from Boxun News, a citizen journalism site that is sourced mostly by anonymous users and frequently makes claims that are difficult to prove.
The original report from Boxun said that Xu Ming, president of the conglomerate Dalian Shide in China's northeast who has been detained due to his close ties with Bo Xilai, confessed that in 2007 he gave Zhang six million yuan (US$945,000) for having sex with him and that the two slept together on several subsequent occasions. In the same year, Xu said he introduced Zhang to Bo, then party head of Chongqing, with who she had sex for 10 million yuan (US$1.6 million). Bo had sex with Zhang more than 10 times between 2007 and 2011, Xu said.
The alleged encounters reportedly took place at a private club owned by Xu in Beijing. Over the same period, Xu is said to have also arranged for Zhang to have sex with two other senior officials. Boxun said the names of officials will be published later.
The 33-year-old, best known in the west for her roles in Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Zhang Yimou's Hero and House of Flying Daggers, earned money, jewelry and properties in exchange for sex with wealthy and powerful men over a long period of time, often having relations with five or six millionaires at the same time but having only one "formal boyfriend" in public, the rumors said. In the past ten years, she is reported to have made a fortune of 700 million yuan from men with whom she slept, of which 180 million yuan (US$28.3 million) came from Xu.
Zhang, who is currently filming in Guangzhou, at first calmly denied the reports on her Sina Weibo microblog, saying early Tuesday morning that the production team was working hard to make artificial rain for the movie and joking that even the sky was "fabricating." "Coworkers deride the fabrication (Boxun's report) and ask 'what is the big deal'? ... It is not necessary to fabricate, just imagine anything. Frankly speaking, it is mental masturbation," Zhang posted.
The actress had taken on a tougher stance by the evening, however. In an "open letter from Zhang Ziyi's team" aimed at the Apple Daily, she took the newspaper to task and said she felt "chilled to the bone and deep sorrow" over the "slander and smears" it had published.
"We will demand justice in law. We will dig you out from your dark corner and follow up the inquiries," she added.
Rumors over Zhang's sexual life, including a possible connection with Bo Xilai, have been circulating on the internet for a long time, though they have previously not been mentioned by the official news agency Xinhua. A report by Xinhua's photography channel on Tuesday made reference to the rumors, with the implication that they are fabricated.
The actress is scheduled to attend the 12th Chinese Film Media Awards in Haikou, Hainan province on Wednesday afternoon and will expect further cross-examination from the more liberal media outlets in the south of the country.
Zhang Ziyi 章子怡
Bo Xilai 薄熙來
Xu Ming 徐明
Dalian Shide 大連實德