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Zhang Ziyi: Serial Indecent Proposals

12/06/2012

Chinese Not Surprised By Zhang Ziyi Scandal

When the rumor broke that Chinese film star Zhang Ziyi had been paid for sex with disgraced Communist Party strongman Bo Xilai, the story grabbed headlines around the world. But in China, where many believe that liaisons like this are just part of doing business, few eyebrows were raised by the allegations.

An angry Zhang, 33, was quick to deny the rumors that she’d had sex more than 10 times with Bo between 2007 and 2011 for $1 million each time. Industry sources have also expressed doubts about the news, saying that the wealthy actress, who has starred in a number of Chinese and foreign blockbusters, including Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Rush Hour, and Memoirs of a Geisha, would have little need to trade her body for cash.

Her latest movie, interestingly named Dangerous Liaisons, had its world preview at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival, but Zhang failed to appear, leading to speculation that she is under investigation in the Bo case and so couldn’t leave China. Zhang explained to the media that she was busy working on her next film and thus could not attend the event.

[youtube:www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_edr6SF-do]

The editor of the Chinese edition of a leading American fashion magazine says girls at performing-arts schools openly talk about their gandie, or “godfathers,” who fund their expensive lifestyles and who hopefully will be able to give their nascent careers a nudge.

“People who want to get into the Beijing Film Academy need guanxi [connections],” says Yu Qi, a book editor in Beijing. “And once you get in, you need money.”

Meanwhile high-level officials and wealthy businessmen see beautiful young women as status symbols to be conquered. “I’ve got a Mercedes and now I have a beautiful girl sitting in it,” says the editor, mimicking a powerful man.

Yu says further that wealthy businessmen can be quite persistent. “I have money and I like you,” they say. “I’ll pelt you with my money until you come with me.” She says the girls are showered in money and gifts and are taken to good restaurants and interesting places. “How long can they resist this?” she asks. Yu tells of a wealthy Chinese businessman who apparently invested in a TV drama just so he could get close to the actresses.

* The Zhang Ziyi scandal may be unfounded, but trading sex for favors is part of the new China. Paul Mooney reports from Beijing.

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