Wu Xiubo, a Chinese famous actor. (Photo: VCG)
Chinese actor Wu Xiubo is mired in controversy after he allegedly enticed a woman who claimed to be his long-time mistress to return to China where she was arrested for blackmailing the actor.
Chen Menglin was reportedly apprehended by police at the Beijing airport on November 5 for extortion, her parents said in an online open letter on Friday.
Chen's parents claimed Wu asked their daughter to return to China from a foreign residence to "discuss some follow-up matters," but Wu had already reported to police that Chen was blackmailing him by threatening to further make his private affairs public.
In September, Chen allegedly caused a sensation claiming that she had had a seven-year extramarital relationship with Wu, according to screenshots of her WeChat post. She lashed out at Wu in the post saying he abandoned her for other women.
The authenticity of the post could not be immediately verified.
Wu never admitted to having a relationship with Chen.
Chen's parents said after their daughter's revelation in September, Chen and Wu reached an agreement and Chen left China. The parents claimed that since then Wu has only paid a small portion of the agreed sum and that Wu's phone call to Chen asking her to return to China for follow-up discussions was a "set-up."
A statement from Wu's attorney on Friday said that Chen's parents' open letter contained false allegation and that Chen was arrested with the approval of the local prosecutor's office for spreading false statements on WeChat and for suspected extortion.
He Zhenya, who is said to be Wu's wife, said in an online statement on Saturday that her family had been blackmailed for 18 months and when the amount become unbearable they had no choice but to resolve the matter through legal means.
Chen could face 10 years in prison if convicted.
The case stirred heated debate on Chinese cyberspace.
Some said Chen disgraced herself if she was indeed Wu's mistress, while the movie star Wu has also been criticized by netizens for taking actions that are "harsh" and "not gentleman-like."
The incident also inspired a wave of memes including an emoji that says "Want a romance? The kind that will send you to prison."
Wu Danhong, a legal advisor for Chen, told the Global Times on Sunday that Chen contacted him on November 4, shortly before she departed for Beijing, claiming that Wu Xiubo agreed to compensate her with a large sum of money if she returnsed to China and signs an agreement.
"I told her that she must not bring up the topic of compensation first … I warned her not to come back because it would be easy for the other side to accuse her of extortion," Wu Danhong said.