In response to criticisms that she demeaned Chinese people by taking the role of a Japanese geisha, Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi has responded that people should be proud of her for her work in the Hollywood blockbuster -- "Memoirs of a Geisha."
"It's very difficult for Chinese actors to find a decent role in a Hollywood movie because the demand for foreign actors is limited," Zhang Ziyi said in an interview on her new official website on the weekend.
The internationally-acclaimed feature film has drawn sharp criticism in China where many people still angry about Japan's World War II military atrocities in China regarded the participation of Chinese actresses as an insult to national pride.
"Zhang Ziyi could play a Korean prostitute and it would be okay, but not a Japanese hooker," said a veteran Chinese journalist after watching the film on DVD. To avoid stirring up anti-Japanese sentiments, the film was denied public release in China.
But Zhang took a different view. "Chinese people should be proud of Chinese actors and actresses who are able to hold down a role in a Hollywood movie because there are not many suitable subjects and scenarios and communication is really a big problem."
Zhang revealed that her next film in May will be another Hollywood production called "Laundry Warrior," in which she stars as an Asian cowgirl in the American West alongside South Korean movie star Jang Dong-kun.
"It's an interesting story and I trust the director. I don't know what will happen, but it's really exciting when it's like a gamble," said Zhang, whose credits include "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" and "The Banquet."
Zhang also promised that she will share more personal information with her fans on her new website (www.helloziyi.com).
"The best thing about having this platform is that I can chat with my fans without worrying about any troublesome consequences. Even if I'm in the United States or Canada, I don't feel far from them," she said.
Zhang finished shooting crime thriller "The Horsemen" with Dennis Quaid in the Canadian city of Winnipeg last month.