There has been claims that the "Memoir of a Geisha" actress Zhang Ziyi has pocketed part of the donations that was raised for the Sichuan earthquake relief. It is an absurd claim in my opinion. Why on earth would she take the money and for what purpose? She is arguably the most famous Chinese actress in the world and probably making millions from her movies not to mention she is a movie producer who has rake in tonnes of cash from "Sophie's Revenge".
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Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi exaggerated the amount of money she raised for Sichuan earthquake relief.
Instead of the US$1mil (S$1.34mil) announced in 2008, the star actually managed to raise US$400,000.
But Zhang did not pocket the money she raised from a donation drive at Cannes Film Festival, her manager Ji Lingling said at an exclusive interview with China's Guangzhou Daily on Sunday.
The clarification came after the media in China reported that there were no signs of the US$1mil donation in the records of the Chinese Red Cross Foundation (CRCF) and Red Cross Society of China (RCSC).
A check with CRCF and RCSC, the official bodies appointed by China government to collect funds for Sichuan earthquake relief, also found that the 1mil yuan (S$208,000) Zhang pledged to donate turned out to be only 840,000 yuan.
The news triggered a huge controversy with many people demanding Zhang to reveal the whereabouts of the rest of the money.
Ji said Zhang had launched the donation driveday after the May 12, earthquake in 2008 while he was at the film festival in France.
"Immediately, we engaged a lawyer and set up a foundation (Ziyi Zhang Foundation) for the purpose.
"Zhang hoped to raise US$1mil but she only managed to collect US$500,000," she said, adding all the cheques and cash collected were handled by a website appointed by them.
"We (Ji and Zhang) never touched the money. The figure was calculated by the website," said Ji.
Ji said Zhang's friend Wendi Deng, the wife of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, had promised to donate US$100,000.
"But she wanted to help the victims so much that she could not wait for us to return to the United States. She gave the money to another foundation," she said, adding the final amount raised was US$400,000.
Asked why Ziyi Foundation's account only had US$45,471 instead of US$400,000, Ji said most of the donors only made verbal commitments to Zhang.
"They will only give the money when we complete the Care for Children's Training and Resource Centre and show it to them," she said.
On the 1mil yuan donated by Zhang, Ji said she was investigating why the donation was recorded at only 840,000 yuan.
Ji also denied a media report that Zhang had collected US$2mil (RM6.89mil). The report quoted an anonymous person, who claimed to be a friend of Zhang's boyfriend Vivi Nevo.
She also provided a copy of the statement issued by Care for Children, an organisation set up to help orphans and abandoned children in China, as evidence.
The statement, titled Ziyi Zhang Foundation Supports Care for Children’s Sichuan Aftermath Aid, said Zhang had promised to channel the entire US$400,000 fund under the foundation for the project.