By TOM LEONARD
Bizarre: Extraordinary claims have emerged in China that Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon star Zhang Ziyi (left) was paid £70million to sleep
with disgraced politician Bo Xilai (right) and other Chinese Communist officials
Zhang Ziyi, star of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, has been forced to deny lurid claims that she earned £64million by prostituting herself to a string of powerful Chinese men.
Among those with whom the actress was alleged to have had sex for money is disgraced politician Bo Xilai, ousted from China’s powerful politburo amid allegations he and his wife were involved in the murder of Old Harrovian businessman Neil Heywood.
Miss Zhang, 33, one of China’s biggest film stars and a three-times Bafta nominee, is the most prominent name to date to be dragged into the scandal over Bo.
According to reports in China, she slept with Bo at least ten times between 2007 and 2011 in exchange for ‘huge’ monetary gifts. The secret trysts are alleged to have taken place in Beijing and to have netted the actress around £1million each time.
The pair are said to have been introduced by Xu Ming, a Chinese businessman who is said to be worth £444million but is reportedly under investigation by the Beijing government over alleged corruption.
On the red carpet: Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi arriving for the Beijing International Film Festival in April 2012
Mr Xu, 41, has reportedly claimed to authorities that he paid Zhang £600,000 to have sex with him for the first time in 2007 and that he later negotiated a deal for a similar liaison with Bo.
Mr Xu is said to have paid Miss Zhang a total of £18million and it is alleged that the actress – who also starred in Rush Hour 2, House Of Flying Daggers and Memoirs Of A Geisha – made millions more from similar deals with other rich and powerful figures.
Investigators are said to be looking into claims that her supposedly illicit earnings escaped tax thanks to interventions by Mr Xu and senior government officials.
It was reported that the Chinese government has refused to allow Miss Zhang to leave the country while it investigates the claims, prompting claims that this was why she was absent from this year’s Cannes film festival to promote her latest film, a new version of Dangerous Liaisons.
Zhang and co-star Chang Chen in a scene from the 2000 film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. She has vehemently denied a string of shocking allegations which emerged in Chinese media
Leading lady: Zhang with director Brett Ratner and co-stars of Rush Hour 2 Jackie Chan, and Chris Tucker
The actress cryptically wrote on her internet blog that many people ‘can take wind as rain’ using their imaginations.
Her Chinese publicist described the claims as ‘outrageous’, adding: ‘It sent stone-cold chills down our spines and has left us with a feeling of deep sadness. Why should this devoted and responsible actress have to suffer this kind of slander and defamation?’
Now living in Hong Kong, Miss Zhang was engaged from 2008 until 2010 to Vivi Nevo, the Israeli-American venture capitalist who was romantically linked to Kate Moss