Zhang Ziyi ‘shameful’ topless photo scandal

Zhang Ziyi is one of the most famous Chinese actresses in the world. She has appeared in films like Rush Hour 2 and Memoirs of a Geisha, exposing a strong, athletic yet delicate build and a quiet, determined presence on the screen. People are looking at her in a new light, however, after paparazzi pictures came online of a topless Zhang and her amorous Israeli fiance. It is unknown whether Zhang knew she was being photographed (doubtful), but that hasn’t stopped everyone from her worldwide fans to the Chinese government from having a massive hissy fit.

Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi has been chastised by her fellow countrymen after topless photos of the star cavorting on a beach with her Israeli fiance surfaced online.

The Memoirs of a Geisha beauty, 29, was recently snapped sunbathing on a Caribbean beach wearing just a pair of bikini bottoms as her billionaire lover Vivi Nevo touched her intimately.

The holiday images have sparked outrage in conservative China, with some detractors branding her “shameless”.

One critic writes on an internet forum, “Zhang Ziyi is really shameless. She is with a foreigner, but should remember certain conduct is expected of Chinese women.”

The pictures have since been censored by China’s internet authorities and have been removed from many websites.

[From New Magazine]

What’s so shameful again? Nudity? Sunbathing? Cavorting? Being amorous with your fiance? Is there some kind of book on ‘the most shameful things to the Chinese government’? I looked at a couple of the pictures, and I’ve seen more shameful beach cavorting with celebrities and their dogs. So what’s with the massive over-reaction by the Chinese people and the government? Can’t a girl get some at the beach? She’s on vacation!

Zhang Ziyi and her boyfriend are shown at Fashion Week on 7/1/08, in Cannes on 5/22/08, and at a Time event on 5/8/08. Credit: WENN

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45 Responses to “Zhang Ziyi ‘shameful’ topless photo scandal”

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  1. yadira says:

    I always thought she was so pretty. Her fiance on the other hand is a different story but hey…if she loves me who am I to say anything? I don’t feel like she did anything wrong but I guess China has strict rules of conduct. At least she isn’t a Lindsey Lohan or Paris Hilton. They should be proud of her!

  2. photo jojo says:

    I just watched Memoirs of a Geisha and I have to say I was once again stunned not only by her beauty but her skill as an actress. She’s mesmerizing.

  3. Larissa says:

    oh well, it´s China!
    now the pic of him kissing her ass is just too funny! lol

  4. Heather says:

    I think China has bigger things to worry about in terms of their national image. Pick your battles people!

  5. Sauronsarmy says:

    Oh god so what, they’re just BREAST! Geez I wonder what they think about Paris Hilton?

  6. girl says:

    You know what’s really shameful? China’s human rights record. And people have the nerve to be horrified by what may be excessive PDA (I don’t know, I didn’t see it) between two consenting adults.


  7. bros says:

    @girl, yah totally.

    i dont even know why they care, since most of the internet is banned there anyway. when i go, I can’t access my favorite sites, because they might be pornographic, and this includes perezhilton and the superficial, not to mention so many others. i dont see how pictures taken secretly by hidden paps and then surreptitiously published without her consent are somehow her problem to be ashamed about. its not like she posted them on her myspace. someone freaking invaded their privacy.

    for all of china’s lip service to gender equality and getting rid of the old feudal imperial attitudes through communism, they certainly cant put their money where their mouth is. gender is an extremely touchy issue there because gender norms are so hard to transgress. very few women are business women, because being in business means you have to drink (most business is conducted over drinks, and toasts seal deals) and since it is not polite or acceptable for women to drink unabashedly, many women cant even survive in this environment. the same goes for smoking. shanghai women are an exception, however, and are known for their business prowess and for being bold and assertive. but men from everywhere else look down on shanghai women and dont find them attractive for exhibiting so many ‘male traits.’ point being, china pretends it has achieved some sort of gender utopia as the result of communist ideals, but it could not be farther from the truth.

  8. kate says:

    she is too beautiful and a very good actress.

  9. spikespiegel says:

    i don’t think he was kissing her ass… thought he was digging deeper!

  10. Jaclyn says:

    Memoirs of a Geisha is a great movie and book, she did a great job acting. :)

    Pictures of Paris’s crotch should be censored. Innocent topless pictures definitely shouldn’t be.

  11. huh says:

    Yeah, I think he was definitely performing a sex act on her rear. A lot more than a kiss. His face wear buried.

  12. CosVis says:

    @ Spikespiegel EWWWWW!! Thanks for the mental imagine, man.

  13. CosVis says:

    Ooops, meant image not imagine!

  14. jennifer says:

    I’ve had such a girl crush on this woman since Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. What a beauty :0)

    And I wondered after seeing those photos if there was going to be backlash. Yeesh.

  15. yoo yoo says:

    she is innocent. what is china ppl shame for???
    china ppl do the same things if they are on vacation..
    she is notting wrong. i am so happy to see if they are happy and love each other.
    no bad news at all..

    i love zhang since i watched crouching tiger. i like her the most in china actress.

  16. Jane says:

    Harmless photos. Don’t they have anything more important to worry about?

  17. Sheena says:

    Waht’s wrong ? as long as she happy, go ahead . She can’t pleased everyone in the world.

  18. tigerlille says:

    Gee, I think that I would reserve the shameless verdict for a government that executes criminals for minor crimes and then sells their body parts internationally, but people tell me that I am over sensitive.

  19. Emily says:

    Not really surprised. China bans everything, including a lot of blog websites. I know a bunch of people studying abroad there right now who were frustrated they couldn’t access their blogs and update them. And apparently even the Skype connection is sketchy.

  20. Kaiser says:

    In case anyone wants to see a couple of the “shameful” pics, here they are:


  21. Chillin says:

    what’s the big deal? I’m not chinese but this is the 21st century…sheesh!

  22. Jen says:

    wait….didn’t she have a quick topless scene in Crouching Tiger?

  23. Vannuccia says:

    She always looks so flawless, but he reminds me of a lizard…a frazzled looking one at that.

  24. dr.grrl says:

    being frisky is one thing, getting your salad tossed on the beach is another. there is no such thing as privacy when you are a celebrity.

    one can talk all the trash they want about chinese censorship, but we live in a country that went to hell in a handbasket when janet jackson’s nip slipped.

    two different cultures with two different levels of acceptance. who are we to judge with our western minds? in the states we are censored too, thank you patriot act. IMO, we need to focus our attention inwards rather than berating other nations “shortcomings”.

  25. fatima says:

    i love her BUT RIMJOBS (regardless of you being on a private beach or not) is not cool! dont be surprised if someone takes a pic of that mess! famous or not!

  26. Ana' says says:

    I’m assuming from some of the responses that most of the respondents here haven’t seen the photos. You’ll find them on flisted.com if you’re inclined to search for them. Hey, I’m no prude but a couple of them, lets say, they should have taken that action indoors. The kiss on the bum, okay, a lil much for a public beach but not obs.cene. But the hand up the bum, uhmm, yeah, a bit much.

  27. Annie says:


    Guys. He’s not tossing her salad, he’s just kissing her bum.

    My boyfriend does that every so often and just puts a peck on the cheek. hahaha.


    These pictures were pretty much nothing…but, we do have to consider that this is a completely different culture and should respect that. Even if we don’t agree with it. Like someone said earlier, let’s worry about their constant human rights violations and their rampant injustice against their own people, instead of letting them divert our attention from that by the “OMG NUDITY” ploy.

  28. Vannuccia says:

    Couldn’t agree with you more dr.grrl.

  29. MsTriste says:

    The pictures I saw were most definitely of two people engaged in a sexual act, outside. I think that’s illegal, even in the US. And I doubt they didn’t know they were being photographed – they were on a beach and they are celebs. Personally, I thought the pictures were scandalicious and made my husband’s (ahem) night!

  30. Codzilla says:

    She’s absolutely gorgeous. Her fiance … not so much.

  31. minx says:

    I’m not a prude but I think he went too far in a public place and he should have known that she’d be criticized for it. Someone who loves her (supposedly) should keep her best interest in mind and take that action indoors. He looks creepy, btw.

  32. Clarise says:

    Her boyfriend reminds me of “Flea” from the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

  33. Lori says:

    If you don’t get how classless and tacky they appear then you’re probably classless and tacky yourself.

  34. I thought China would of been more outraged a few years ago when she starred in Memories of a Geisha.

  35. Angus says:

    Well I guess most of the comments here are expected. After all what’s expected from westerners, people who invented bikini, low cut jeans, bikini wax, record setter in pre-marital sex and teenage pregnancy…

    Chinese and Asian people on the other hand know better to keep our public life public, and private life private. Baring yourself in public is shameful enough, let alone letting a man bury his face in your butt crack. And beaches are public property, in other words, she CONSENTED to those pictures. It’d be another story if the paps broke into her house and took the pictures.

  36. hairclip says:

    As “bros” said “shanghai women are an exception, however, and are known for their business prowess and for being bold and assertive. but men from everywhere else look down on shanghai women and dont find them attractive for exhibiting so many ‘male traits.’”

    Actually,Shanghai women are not the only exception.There are a lot of places in China are like this.

    Today,the discrimination or distinguish between men & women in China is totally different from that used to be.

    “everywhere else look down on shanghai women “is not specific.Numberous people respect them & think they are very gorgeous and independent.But beacause of the fierce competition in Shanghai, women have to be fairly strong,which sometimes makes some of them much more practical.For instance,some of them just care about the material.Proper material is ok,but they are only too…what if you have a wife who love your money or something else more? But this case just to aim at a part of them.
    And a vast number of momen cannot be looked down.It used to be,but today has changed a lot.Which coutry can say its women & man are fully equal?At first,the strength is unfair…China only has been set up for 60 year.The elder generation are a bit feudal,it’s obvious that they cannot go out from some rooted concept,which will be taken to their children.From one generation to another…Most Chinese
    are traditional,but it doesn’t mean they don’t try something new.Especially for most young people today.They’re aware of what happen outside and have good ambition to make the world like a family.Everyone is a member.what’s more,there were some controversial things happened to this country which made its development back up.But now it still rapidly turns to be good.We cannot always define one thing if we only see a corner of it.

    Ziyi is a famous person.But for traditional Chinese,these pictures are a little unabashed.Government doesn’t take some big measures.most people think these photos it’s not a big deal,they just want to satisfy their curiosity…the most crucial is,the privacy of celebrities…

  37. Mei says:

    So the guys not too hot… you did read the part about billionaire, right?

    Plus, you guys need to stop critising China’s outburst over this. It’s a completely different culture and in my opinion justified on this. Not for the nudity as much as the bum grabbing. Mainland China is still very traditional and very strict on its ‘morality’ laws… The actress in ‘Lust Caution’ was blacklisted by Chinese Entertainment Industries due to the erotic scenes in the film (and that was only acting) so this… no suprise.

    Plus, I’m fed up with actors who court the cameras when they want to (Look, i’ve lost weight/ getting married/ having a baby/ got a film to promote… please Hello/OK/Whatever, come photograph me and pay me loads)and then if they are snapped otherwise (ohhh, that such an invasion of my privacy. If you want them, you pay for them dumbass.)

    Sorry.. seem to have gone off in a rant…

  38. observer says:

    don’t they have a bedroom? why did he have to play her ass in public? they both knew they were on a beach and there might be people with camera around, and they wanted to put up a show like that? disgusting! desparate try for attention!

  39. xu says:

    Yeah, China’s goverment polices and censorship sucks… we chinese should obviously take example of Western democracy, imitate CNN or BBC or Der Spiegel, fake pictures, subtitles, or wars with however has some oil, even film some Palestinian conflict and say it was real… ‘though we are lucky to have free countries like USA where we can buy guns to kill white nerds =D


  40. lala says:

    the Chinese took ” sex” sereiously and a proper behavior of girl is desired by the traditional chinese concept…

    There is a freedom for a chinese girl to date an American ; but most Chinese do not accept her intended behavior in exchangeing sex with money and social position and …that’s it… she might did good in her professional work…but there are lots of chinese actress having good looking and excellent ability to perform but
    had no opportunity to exhibit…

    it is popularly known in China about potential rule. Sleeping a movie director or a rich business man and geting a role to play…

    Hard to say in one word…Chinese are human beings like Americans…people blamed on her behavior and gave her bad reputation because of many reasons but not because Chinese are crazy

  41. Chen Zhen says:

    shameful? who the hell took the pictures??? she was not posing for it! and so when she goes to the bathroom, if someone in hiding snap a pic of her then that’s shameful too? c’mon….I love China being a mainlander myself, but thinking about their politics, that’s what’s shamefu;.

  42. blah! says:

    1.Sex should be indoors, rather than on a beach.2.what the hell he was doing to her was totally unnatural.It should not be done even indoors!(I hate unnatural sex)3.I support the role of chinese government in this matter. Only government can stop such nuissance.4.And finally I really like ziyi as an actress. I was searching for her movies and also for her on net. The site showing her nude was shocking for me. It is our duty to keep ourselves, our family, our society and our country away from such a ‘western mania’.

  43. Chuck says:

    Most disappointing, wish she lived up to the essence of her roles.