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Italian designer Prada has cut ties with a popular Chinese actress engulfed in a surrogacy scandal.
Prada announced it was parting ways with 30-year-old Zheng Shuang on Tuesday – a week after appointing her as a brand ambassador.
The company had been heavily criticised for working with Ms Zheng, whose former partner Zhang Heng has accused her of trying to abandon two children the couple had through a US-based surrogate.
“The Prada Group has terminated all cooperation with Ms Zheng Shuang,” the company said on its official Weibo account, without providing further details.
The controversy began on Monday when Mr Zhang took to Chinese social media to release voice recordings of a woman, he said was Ms Zheng, lamenting that it was too late to abort the children.
According to reports, a man thought to be Ms Zheng’s father, is then heard suggesting that the children could be given up for adoption.
In a statement, Mr Zhang said he was stranded in the US taking care of the two children, who were born in 2019 and 2020, alone after Ms Zheng left following their split.
The controversy has trended on Weibo over the past three days and led to thousands of users ridiculing Prada for hiring Ms Zheng.
On Tuesday, the actress said on her Weibo account that she had not violated laws in either China or the United States but did not comment on whether any of the accusations were true.
“It’s a very sad and private matter for me,” she said.
Surrogacy is forbidden in China but going abroad to have surrogate children in countries such as the United States has increasingly become an option for some wealthy Chinese couples.
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