Zhang Ziyi joins in China quake aid

Launches foundation at Cannes to raise funds

CANNES -- Actress Zhang Ziyi broke from the festivities at the Festival de Cannes on Wednesday to ask for money to aid the victims of the earthquake that struck her native China on May 12, killing more than 41,000 people.

Asking guests gathered at the Chopard Beach to observe a minute of silence, the star of "Memoirs of a Geisha" and "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" announced the launch of the Zhang Ziyi Foundation, urging guests to make donations on their way out.

"It seems to be such a dichotomy that I stand here in this beautiful room in a gorgeous sunny town of celebrations. However, I realized it need not be this way," Zhang said.

Chinese official media reported on Wednesday that donations to China's quake-hit regions had reached 16 billion yuan ($2.29 billion).

Present at the ceremony with Zhang was Caroline Gruosi-Scheufele, head of Swiss jeweler to the stars Chopard, Christian Slater, THR publisher Eric Mika and Festival de Cannes president Thierry Fremaux.

Fremaux said that other Chinese filmmakers at Cannes -- including Wong Kar Wai, Jia Zhangke and Jiang Xuan -- also were paying tribute after the tragedy.

Mika, for his part, added: "This is about humanity, and it takes one person to ignite a match and others will follow. Ziyi did that, and it's our duty to support her and all the victims of the earthquake."

Wednesday evening marked the end of a three-day official mourning period in China, during which the government decreed that all entertainment and advertising content be replaced across all media in China by news about the quake relief efforts from China Central Television.

By midday Wednesday in China, the official death toll had risen to 41,353, with 274,683 injured and 32,666 missing.