Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi is demanding an apology from a Hong Kong newspaper after it published claims she had sex with disgraced Communist party official Bo Xilai for huge sums of money.
Apple Daily -- repeating allegations on US-based news website Boxun.com -- alleged the star of "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" and "Memoirs of a Geisha" slept with Bo at least ten times between 2007 and 2011.
The reports claim she negotiated similar deals with several other powerful men, including Bo's close friend Xu Ming, a billionaire tycoon that the Chinese authorities are investigating for alleged corruption. They allege she earned around $110 million from prostituting herself.
Zhang, 33, denied the claims, saying they were "completely untrue" and "extremely ridiculous."
"We read this outrageous report in the Apple Daily. It sent stone-cold chills down our spines and has left us with a feeling of deep sadness," her publicist said in a statement. "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."
Zhang's lawyers have demanded Apple Daily publish an apology and a full retraction.
Zhang ignored the allegations when she appeared at the 10th Chinese Film Media Awards earlier this week. Media reports questioned her absence from the Cannes Film Festival, where her new film, a Chinese version of "Dangerous Liaisons," was being promoted. Some reports said the authorities in Beijing prevented her from leaving the country while they investigated the claims.
Bo's downfall, involving allegations of murder, jealousy and sexual indiscretion, has become China's biggest political scandal in more than two decades and had a damaging effect on China's governing class.
The former senior leader, whose populist policies won him many supporters, was purged after his wife became a suspect in the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood last year.
Bo had been seen as a candidate to join China's new top leadership team before the scandal broke and party officials fear his ousting, and the corruption investigations, threaten party unity.
WTTG FOX 5 & myfoxdc
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