Chloe Zhao to court: China’s ‘modern-day Joan of Arc’ faces trial

Police on Wednesday released footage of China’s wildly popular actress Peng Shuai in custody after she was formally charged with illegally filming an actor’s dinner. Peng is also the ambassador for the country’s national flag carrier, China Southern Airlines. She was arrested in February and is due to stand trial in late June.

Peng has been portrayed by the country’s state media as a victim of jealousy. According to China’s state media, Peng’s night out with the actor in question was planned by another actress, Li Yang, who was upset over the treatment she received from Peng and her friends. Peng allegedly fell asleep while at a dinner. The footage shows Li hitting Peng and demanding Peng remove her wig.

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Gao Pengzhang, Peng’s defence lawyer, recently suggested Peng could have “accidentally snored” and deliberately forgot to pick up the chin in their last meal together. The lawyer added that Peng had never been to an escort agency.

Peng was a popular Chinese actress in her early twenties before the 2016 anti-corruption campaign prompted a slew of actors and actresses to choose to bow out of the spotlight or leave the country. She shot to stardom after winning Best Actress at the China Film Awards for her role in 2014’s Jane Got a Gun. She followed that with roles in 2015’s Shanghai Dreams, 2016’s The Home Player and this year’s China Lives.

During her life, Peng has often appeared to defend Communist ideology, which she labelled the country’s “conscience”.

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