Actress Zhang Ziyi is demanding an apology from media outlets that reported she was paid millions to carry on a sexual relationship with Chinese politician Bo Xilai.
Ziyi is now the target of a government investigation based on her links to the scandal-tainted Xilai, according to reports, and she is far from pleased about it.
"We read this outrageous report in the [Hong Kong newspaper] Apple Daily," her publicist said. "It sent chills down our spines and has left us with deep sadness."
The Hong Kong paper reportedly picked up on a story that originated on Boxun (dot) com, a Chinese-language site operated here in the United States.
Per various media reports, Boxun alleged that a billionaire pal of Bo's introduced him to Zhang and that, since 2007, he has paid her millions of dollars for sex.
It said the Memoirs of a Geisha star has pocketed $100 million from liaisons with multiple high-ranking, deep-pocketed government officials over 10 years.
None of the sites quoted any sources on the record."Friends have advised us to release a short statement and not take this seriously," Zhang's publicist continued. "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 and the truth will be revealed."
A letter from Zhang's lawyer to the Apple Daily demanding an apology and full retraction was posted on the actress' blog on the Chinese social media site Sina Weibo.
She also called the celebrity news allegations "completely ridiculous."
The Hong Kong University-based Chinese Media Project is reporting, meanwhile, that posts on Weibo about the alleged investigation, including the rumor that Zhang is currently not allowed to leave the country, are being removed.
Zhang, who also starred in Rush Hour 2 and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, is 33. latest film, Dangerous Liaisons, premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.
[Photo: Pacific Coast News]