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February 8, 2010

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Agent: Zhang did make donation

CHINESE actress Zhang Ziyi did donate 1 million yuan (US$146,466) in cash immediately after the May 12 earthquake in Sichuan Province in 2008 and raised another US$400,000 for relief work, according to her agent Ji Lingling, who responded to a claim that the film star didn't give as much as she claimed.

An online claim was made on January 22 stating that Zhang had donated 840,000 yuan, not the 1 million yuan she announced. The person making the claim said it was based on information from the Chinese Red Cross Foundation.

Ji told that Zhang contributed 1 million yuan and that her donation was witnessed by senior foundation executives, the Website reported yesterday.

Ji also produced an e-mail by the Committee for Children that said Zhang, who starred in "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon" and "Memoirs of a Geisha," would transfer US$400,000 to a designated bank account in three weeks after the debut of an orphanage run jointly by the committee and the actress.

Ji said the money was raised by Zhang when she attended the 2008 Cannes Film Festival in France.

Zhang proposed building an orphanage in June 2008. The decision to build it was made a year later and approval for the orphanage in Sichuan's Deyang City came in November, according to Ji.

Zhang claimed that she had raised a total of US$500,00 for the quake victims.

Ji said that the US$100,000 difference was not Zhang's fault. The shortfall was due to a decision made by Wendi Deng, wife of News Corporation Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch, Ji said.

Deng had promised the US$100,000 but later changed her mind and gave it to another foundation as she thought Zhang's orphanage project was taking too long, said Ji.

Ji also said a charity foundation set up by Zhang and registered in the United States was for the convenience of contributors overseas, many of them Zhang's friends. But Ji didn't explain why millions of yuan in donations were transferred to Zhang's private US bank account.

Ji said US$500,000 was in the foundation's account, not more than US$2 million as had been reported by Shenzhen Evening News.


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