“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” star Zhang Ziyi sued two media outlets for defamation over stories alleging she received millions of yuan to have sex with suspended Politburo member Bo Xilai and other Chinese leaders.
Zhang suffered “immense grievance and distress” because of the stories, which she denied, her lawyers said in the complaint filed yesterday at the High Court of Hong Kong. The actress is seeking unspecified libel damages.
The suit named Apple Daily Ltd., Next Magazine Publishing Ltd., and their top editors over stories that Zhang was paid 700 million yuan ($110 million) over 10 years to have sex with Bo, “unnamed high government officials” and other rich people. The suit also denied allegations in the stories that Zhang was questioned as part of a government investigation into Bo and was barred from leaving China.
The stories, published in May, “are seriously defamatory of and concerning the plaintiff and are false,” the lawsuit said. Zhang has “been subjected to public odium, hatred, contempt or ridicule,” it said.
Zhang is seeking an injunction to stop the republication of the stories from the two outlets, which are owned by Next Media Ltd. Company Chairman Jimmy Lai declined to comment, his assistant Samantha Fung said in a phone interview.
Bo was ousted as Communist Party secretary of the municipality of Chongqing and suspended from China’s Politburo after his wife was arrested on suspicion she was involved in the murder of a British businessman. Bo has not been seen in public since the end of the National People’s Congress in Beijing in mid-March.
The actress starred in movies including “Rush Hour 2” and “House of Flying Daggers,” and was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for her role in “Memoirs of a Geisha.” Zhang also filed a separate lawsuit against a news website in the U.S., the South China Morning Post reported today.
The case is Zhang Ziyi and Apple Daily Ltd., Cheung Kim-hung, Next Magazine Publishing Ltd., Li Chi-ho, HCA1002/2012 in the Hong Kong Court of First Instance.