The Chinese actress who starred in "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," "Memoirs of a Geisha" and "Rush Hour 2" has angrily denied selling her sexual favors to a disgraced official of the ruling Chinese Communist Party for $1 million per night.
A story in the Hong Kong tabloid newspaper Apple Daily alleged that Zhang Ziyi provided her sexual services in exchange for close to $1 million U.S. dollars a night to former Commerce Minister Bo Xilai and other clients. The Apple Daily, Hong Kong's second-best-selling paper and a frequent critic of the Chinese regime, also alleged that Ziyi had earned $110 million over four years via prostitution.
Ziyi, whose absence from last week's Cannes premiere of her latest movie, "Dangerous Liaisons," was noted by the international media, has issued a heated denial of the charges.
According to the Apple Daily, Zhang Ziyi's main client was Bo Xilai, who allegedly had sex with her 11 times between 2007 and 2011. The report alleges Ziyi amassed 110 million dollars from these and trysts with other clients arranged by a prominent billionaire businessman, Xu Ming.
On Tuesday, a Hong Kong law firm representing Zhang Ziyi dismissed the report.
"Your allegations concerning our client are completely untrue and constitute a grave libel upon her," said the firm's statement to the Apple Daily. The firm demanded a full and prompt retraction and apology and reserved the right to legal action.
Zhang Ziyi's publicist issued a stern statement vowing accountability. "This time, we are telling those rumor-makers that we will respond. We will prove our side of the story; we'll seek legal justice; we'll find you in the darkest corner and go after you," the online statement read."
Bo Xilai, though the scion of a family prominent in the Chinese Communist Party, has been hit with a series of scandals involving corruption and abuse of power in recent months leading to his highly unusual dismissal from the party. The most recent scandal involves accusations that his wife orchestrated the murder of a British businessman, Neil Heywood, because of a conflict of interest. Bo became head of the Communist Party in Chongqing in 2007 after serving as Commerce Minister. He was fired as local party chief in March 2012 and suspended from China's ruling Politburo in April.
Xu, a long-standing associate of Bo, is also reportedly under investigation in China for corruption.