The actress Zhang Ziyi, who is accused of taking huge sums to have sex with disgraced top Chinese official Bo Xilai, is suing a Hong Kong news outlet that reported the rumor. Zhang's management agency on Weibo, the Chinses version of Twitter, said it has sent an official notice through Hong Kong law firm Haldanes to the Apple Daily.
The Apple Daily published an article citing anti-Beijing website Boxun that Zhang was being investigated by Chinese authorities on charges of prostitution and was barred from leaving China.
The agency said the report "sent stone-cold chills down our spines and has left us with a feeling of deep sadness" and asked why Zhang should suffer such slander and humiliation. It was not the first time the rumors have been published. The agency said it had no choice but to take legal steps despite advice simply to issue a statement denying the allegations.
"But this time we don't want to be silent. If we leave these lies to spread, what is completely untrue will be at risk of becoming a half-truth," it added. The agency said it would track down those who spread the rumors and hold them to account.
Zhang posted a message on her own Weibo account on Wednesday afternoon and said, "I met with my lawyer in Hong Kong in the morning to discuss legal measures and just arrived in Hainan. The truth is bound to come to light. And since I have the support of my fans and the law, this will not be a lonely battle."