31 May – The publicists of Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi, whose name has been embroiled in a sexual service scandal with top Chinese government officials, has slammed the reports and vows to take serious legal action for the actress.
According to Asian Bite, the publicist team had issued a long statement on 29 May regarding the report published in Hong Kong's Apple Daily News, that linked Zhang with a former Chinese top official, Bo Xilai, to have paid sex on at least ten occasions.
Calling the report 'outrageous' that 'sent stone-cold chills' their spines and left them 'with a deep feeling of deep sadness', the publicist team defended the actress, who they felt did not deserve to 'suffer this kind of slander and defamation' and thanked her fans for their undying support since the breakout of the scandal.
"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 read.
"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. 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," it continued.
According to the statement, Zhang's team would be taking legal actions against Apple Daily and any other news outlets that published the report that they have deemed to be false.
Meanwhile, Apply Daily News was served with a letter by a law firm representing Zhang, informing them that their report on the scandal had caused her reputation to be 'seriously damaged and she has suffered considerable distress and embarrassment'.
The letter also demanded that they retract the news report and publish an open apology by May 30, or face legal action and damage claims.
Zhang, who is currently in China to shoot "The Grandmaster", was reportedly being barred from leaving the country, pending ongoing official investigations on her involvement with former Minister of Commerce Bo Xilai, and other officials.
Reports had suggested that Zhang was arranged to have sex with Bo through an associate of Bo, after she was paid a sum of 6 million Yuan (approximately SG$1.2 million) when she first had sex with the associate for the first time.
Bo had allegedly paid Zhang 10 million Yuan (approximately SG$2.02 million) on their first encounter and continued to have at least 10 encounters in between 2004 and 2007 that took place in Beijing.
Zhang was even accused of dealing with other government officials through the introduction of Bo's associate, and was said to have earned a total of 700 million Yuan (approximately SG$141.5 million) of cash, jewelries, and properties that were not taxed, due to the officials influence, within the same period.