What’s not to love about Zhang Ziyi? Quite a lot if you are a Chinese internet user. Many seem to jump on any opportunity to have a go at the country’s most famous actress – and probably the world’s most well known Chinese face. The Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon star has attracted flak for her choice of boyfriend (an Israeli billionaire), her kneeling before an American in a Hollywood movie and for playing a Japanese (see WiC19). This time she provoked another furore, surprisingly enough, over her donation to victims of the Sichuan Earthquake. At the time of the disaster she had publicly declared she’d give Rmb1 million, but it recently came to light she only handed over Rmb840,000. Cue a firestorm of abuse in chatrooms. An online article on tianya.cn revealed the shortfall and her manager, Ji Lingling initially denied the claim. However, after a few days Zhang topped up the donation to the Chinese Red Cross with the missing Rmb160,000.
Ji apologised: “It is a serious error on my part as a member of the management. I am truly sorry for the error caused by my negligence. The error exposed Zhang Ziyi to unreasonable speculation and affected her negatively.”
Quite aside from Zhang, there has been much controversy in China about how much of the pledged donations to Sichuan earthquake-related charities were actually made; and equally, whether the funds were appropriately used, as opposed to siphoned off by corrupt local officials.
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