Actress Zhang Ziyi has denied rumours, originating online and spreading to some mainstream media, that she had been barred from leaving China pending investigation by the authorities.
Hong Kong’s Apple Daily, as well as several other Chinese mainland and Taiwanese media publications, reported on May 29 that a wealthy associate of the former Chinese official has confessed he first paid Zhang 6 million yuan (US$944,244) in 2007, to have sex with her.
Reports said he later negotiated deals for the official to have sex with Zhang in Beijing at least 10 times between 2007 and 2011. The reports further claimed that Zhang’s “sexual transactions” with various rich and powerful figures have made her the tidy sum of 700 million yuan (US$110 million) over the past decade ….
“Friends have advised us to release a short statement and not take this seriously,” Zhang’s team continued, “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. “
“But this time we don’t want to be silent. If we leave these lies to spread, what is completely untrue will be at risk of becoming a half-truth,” the statement read, “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.”
Damien Ma, of Eurasia Group and The Atlantic, tweeted that he was standing behind Zhang in line at Hong Kong airport, “smashing” claims that the Beijing-based actress was subject to travel restrictions. She later confirmed that she was in Hong Kong to consult lawyers [zh].
Boxun, the apparent origin of the rumours, was included in Barbara Demick’s survey of exile media sources at The Los Angeles Times earlier this month:
More objective [than the Falun Gong-backed media], though not always more accurate, is Boxun. Founder Watson Meng was a tech-savvy Chinese student in the U.S. in the early 1990s when he started compiling articles about China published abroad for his friends back home to read. In 2000, he turned his hobby into a proper business, establishing Boxun in Durham, N.C., where he had settled after attending Duke University’s business school.
“I don’t ally myself with any party or religion. Boxun carries voices from all groups,” the 47-year-old Meng said by telephone ….
Boxun often re-posts articles that have appeared on Chinese microblog sites such as Sina Weibo and takes anonymous contributions without verifying the content. Many of its “exclusives” are questionable, such as the accusation that Bo plotted a 2002 plane crash and reports in March that Zhou and Bo had attempted a coup.
Meng acknowledges that the site doesn’t live up to professional journalistic standards: “Boxun has many things it needs to improve. We’d like to become more professional.”