In an update to the latest scandal to hit Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi, the 33-year-old responded cryptically in a microblog message to allegations that she had been paid to have sex with disgraced former top official, Bo Xilai.
The actress, who is filming in Guangzhou, posted a comment on her microblog that described the “fraudulent” rain on the film set, along with a photo of a colleague on a ladder sprinkling “rain” – actually water from a hose – on the actors.
She wrote in Chinese that while it was a challenge to “defraud heaven”, it was nothing compared to thinking there is rain after “hearing the wind”, as that requires only one’s imagination, reported my paper.
Zhang is reportedly under investigation by the Chinese government and barred from leaving the country.
Hong Kong’s Apple daily and other Chinese media reported that the pair was first introduced by Bo’s associate, Xu Ming, 41, who is the founder and chairman of Dalian Shide Group.
Sources say Xu confessed to paying Zhang 6 million yuan (S$1.2 million) in 2007, to have sex with her for the first time.
He later negotiated a deal for Bo to have sex with Zhang, for 10 million yuan (S$2 million).
Reports say the 33-year-old actress slept with Bo at least 10 times between 2007 and 2011 in Beijing.
The Chinese media also estimated that Zhang’s sexual transactions with various rich and powerful figures have netted her 700 million yuan over the last 10 years.
This includes 180 million yuan in cash from Xu.
Her wealth from prostituting herself was not taxed, due to intervention from Xu and other government officials.
Xu reportedly pimped the Chinese actress out to two other high-level officials as well.
Media news outlets speculate that investigations into these allegations could explain why Zhang was absent from the recently concluded Cannes film festival.
Her film, Dangerous Liaisons, premiered at the festival, which her co-star, Hong Kong actress Cecilia Cheung, attended.
Zhang claimed she was busy shooting the film, “The Grandmasters”, and was unable to attend the festival.
According to Hong Kong and Taiwanese media reports, the actress has remained uncontactable for comment on the allegations.
Zhang was previously embroiled in other scandals.
In 2010, she was accused of exaggerating the funds raised for the Sichuan earthquake. Instead of the US$1million (S$1.34million) announced in 2008, the star only managed to raise US$400,000.
In 2009, Zhang was accused of cheating a married businessman of S$41.2 million, with whom she was alleged to be sexually involved with, while still engaged to Israeli billionaire Vivi Nevo.
Nevo and Zhang reportedly split up in 2010.
BEIJING – A popular Chinese microblogging site is introducing new rules that could see users banned for posting about sensitive political topics.
Sina Weibo imposed “user contracts” on Monday that award each of its 300 million microbloggers a starting score of 80 points. Points can be deducted for online comments that are judged to be offensive and, at zero, a user’s account will be cancelled.
Users who suffer lesser penalties can restore their points by avoiding violations for two months.
Deductions will cover a wide range of wrongdoing, including spreading rumours, calling for protests, promoting cults or superstitions and impugning China’s honour, the service stated.
The contracts will also punish time-honoured tactics bloggers have used to avoid censorship, like disguising comments on censored topics by using homonyms (where two different Chinese characters have nearly identical sounds), puns and other dodges.
For instance, to evade censors, bloggers have referred to the dissident artist Ai Weiwei by using the Chinese characters for “love the future”, a rough homonym of his name.
It is unclear how many points a user would lose for a specific violation. But Sina’s officials said microbloggers could increase their score to 100 by supporting unspecified promotional activities and would receive “low credit” warnings below 60 points.
Government censors already control what appears on the Internet, and corporate minders at Sina Weibo and other sites have long complied with their orders, deleting offensive comments, sly homonyms and posts that rile the government’s sensibilities.
The point system, however, appears to be a muted effort to extend that control by warning users when they approach the boundaries of official tolerance. Internet companies like Sina that are privately operated tread a thin line between censorship that is too lax and might draw government punishment, and overly strict rules that would quash the lively debates that make the services popular.
The Chinese propaganda authorities have progressively clamped down on the freedoms of Internet users since last year, when a high-speed train wreck in Zhejiang province unleashed an online flood of angry anti-government comments. Agencies