Zhang Ziyi has made good on a promise to hit back at media outlets for defamation over stories that alleged she received $110M to have sex with former Chinese politician Bo Xilai and other unnamed government officials. Attorneys for the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon star filed a complaint in the High Court of Hong Kong on Monday, saying the actress has suffered “immense grievance and distress,” Bloomberg reports. A suit was also filed in the US, according to The South China Morning Post. Zhang is seeking unspecified damages. Apple Daily Ltd and Next Magazine Publishing Ltd and their editors were named in the suits following stories that claimed Zhang had engaged in sex with the disgraced former Politburo member and others over a multi-year period. Attorneys also denied Zhang was questioned as part of a government investigation and was barred from leaving China, Bloomberg said.
An initial story, published in May on US-based Chinese-language site Boxun.com, offered no proof of the rumors, The New Yorker earlier reported. It was then picked up by Hong Kong’s Apple Daily, leading Zhang’s lawyers to send a letter advising Apple Daily of the actress’ right to pursue legal action. On June 1, Want China Times, the English news website of the Taiwan-based China Times News Group, reported that Zhang wrote on her microblog, “I will fight back at media outlets who continue to fool the public with such dirty rumors, like a cat that shuts its eyes while pilfering cream. I will address whoever does it without excuse.” At the Chinese Film Media Awards on May 30, she further told reporters, “The news is absolutely a rumor, filled with smears and slander. I have discussed it with my attorney in Hong Kong… I will seek legal action to follow it up at any cost,” Want China Times said. Zhang is currently being courted for a role in Legendary’s Ed Zwick-directed The Great Wall. The Bo Xilai scandal saw the politician suspended in April on suspicions of serious disciplinary infractions while his wife, Gu Kailai, is currently under investigation in the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood.