Donation details released to end debate dogging Zhang Ziyi

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Two charity groups have released details of donations from acclaimed Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi to end the debate over whether she honored her promise to donate one million yuan (146,400 U.S. dollars) to earthquake relief charities.

The Chinese Red Cross Foundation (CRCF) said in a notice Monday the organization had received all of the promised donation from the actress. The statement was featured prominently in newspapers Tuesday, which happened to be Zhang's birthday.

An article posted on the popular Tianya BBS late January raised questions about Zhang's donations for relief work after the deadly Wenchuan earthquake on May 12, 2008. It said Zhang had only donated 840,000 yuan, 160,000 yuan less than what she had promised.

Li Jing, director of public relations at the CRCF, confirmed to Xinhua on Tuesday that CRCF had received the money on Monday, and will update the online donation figures in March.

The Chinese charity group also said in the statement two initial donations amounting to 840,000 yuan were made on May 15, 2008, and had been used to rebuild a school for deaf-mutes in southwestern Sichuan Province.

Zhang's agent Lucas Ji made a public apology Monday with a statement released on popular web portal saying the error had resulted from careless management.

Fans of the actress, who become famous after her role in "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," were shocked by the Tianya article's allegations.

Internet users posted remarks asking the actress to release the details of donations she raised at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival for quake relief. Zhang was reported to have raised one million U.S. dollars at the event.

People had also been making calls to the Ministry of Civil Affairs, the CRCF and other organizations to track the donations Zhang claimed to have made.

A statement from Zhang, released by the Beijing News on Jan. 28, said she had been working with British charity group "Care For Children" to help with the building of a "resource center" in southwestern Sichuan province's Deyang city.

The statement did not mention the amount of donations made, but said all the donations would go to the building of the center.

The British organization said in a statement on Feb. 5 the Deyang program had received important support from Zhang Ziyi and her foundation.

The program was approved by the local government in 2009 and construction would start after the Spring Festival, the statement added.

"Donations by celebrities have never attracted so much attention," Li said. "It is a good thing for the Internet and the press to supervise donations because it enhances the transparency."

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