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'Crouching Tiger' actress Zhang Ziyi sues over prostitution reports

Zhang Ziyi 660.JPG

Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi sued a Hong Kong newspaper after it claimed she earned millions of dollars from having sex with top Communist Party leaders.

The Apple Daily alleged that the star of "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" and "Memoirs of a Geisha" slept with disgraced Chinese leader Bo Xilai at least 10 times between 2007 and 2011.

The report, repeating allegations on U.S.-based news website Boxun.com, claimed she negotiated similar deals with several other powerful men, including Bo's close friend Xu Ming, a billionaire tycoon who Chinese authorities are investigating for alleged corruption.

The newspaper alleged she earned around $110 million from prostituting herself.

The 33-year-old denied the claims, branding them "completely untrue" and demanding an apology.

Zhang filed a lawsuit against the Apple Daily, Hong Kong's biggest newspaper, and its sister publication Next Magazine, describing the reports as "seriously defamatory" and "false," AFP reported.

Bo's downfall -- involving allegations of murder, jealousy and sexual indiscretion -- has become China's biggest political scandal in more than two decades and had a damaging effect on China's governing class.

The former senior leader, whose populist policies won him many supporters, was purged after his wife became a suspect in the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood last year.

Bo had been seen as a candidate to join China's new top leadership team before the scandal broke, and party officials fear his ousting, and the corruption investigations, threaten party unity.

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