Showbiz

Chinese star wins US website apology over sex claims

A US-based Chinese news agency has apologised to award-winning actress Zhang Ziyi (pic) for claiming she slept with top Chinese officials for money and gifts, a publicist said yesterday.

In a statement Boxun News said there was no evidence to support the claims and acknowledged it did not contact the "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" star before publishing the allegations last year.

A spokesman for the 34-year-old Chinese actress said she will withdraw her lawsuit against the agency, as long as they adhere to an agreement the terms of which were not disclosed.

"Ms Zhang is confident that the public apology and retraction made by Boxun proves that the allegations are false," said a statement issued on her behalf by the actress's publicist Raina Falcon.

"As such, she will soon dismiss her lawsuit against the news agency, pending their adherence to a resolution agreement and as ordered by the court."

In a piece posted Tuesday on its English-language main page, the agency which often reports unsourced rumours said it published a series of articles starting in May 2012 which included "negative and untrue information about (Zhang), including that she slept with wealthy and powerful men for presents and money".

"These false reports... should never have been published," it said in the piece, entitled "Boxun News retracts reports about Zhang Ziyi".

"As a result, Boxun News now renders its unreserved apology to Zhang Ziyi, has removed the entire series of articles... from the Boxun News website, and issues this formal retraction."

It continued: "Boxun News regrets the publication of these articles and any distress Zhang Ziyi may have suffered as a result of the articles."

"The Boxun News reports... were based on information provided to Boxun News by anonymous sources, who cannot support the information reported. Boxun News also failed to contact Zhang Ziyi before publishing the reports in order to enable her to respond to and refute the allegations."

The agency "now acknowledges that its reports were insupportable and improper, and that Zhang Ziyi has never been questioned in connection with any investigation related to the allegations set forth in the Boxun articles," it said.

"Boxun News recognises and respects Zhang Ziyi's extraordinary achievements in the international motion picture industry as well as her many civic and charitable efforts. Boxun News sincerely apologises to Zhang Ziyi for the damage it has caused to her reputation and career."

Zhang was nominated for a best actress Golden Globe for 2005's "Memoirs of a Geisha", among more than 30 nominations and 20 wins in awards ceremonies around the world.

As well as starring in 2000's Oscar-winning "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" by Taiwan's Ang Lee, she has also appeared in films including 2001's "Rush Hour" starring Jackie Chan, and 2004's "House of Flying Daggers". - AFP, December 19, 2013.

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