If the 50-year-old American actress Sharon Stone's aim in using some sensational stuff was to make the Chinese aware of her half-forgotten existence, she has clearly succeeded.
Her remarks on May 22 suggesting that the deadly earthquake in Sichuan, China, was a result of karmic retribution, followed by her defense of the remarks and the refusal to apologize and finally now the apology have brought the fading star back to the media limelight here, to an extent none of her movies has ever seen.
What Sharon Stone says does not change anything here, except her very own reputation.
Nor do we believe her remarks, no matter how mean they are, deserve a fuss like what they have actually stirred.
But we do have a few words for Ms Stone's reference.
Judging from her confession in Cannes, France, especially her friendship with the Dalai Lama, she must have heard something about the Buddhist dialectics of cause and effect. She made the notorious association because she was not happy that the Chinese were not being nice to her friend, the Dalai Lama.
Was Ms Stone herself being nice in saying that?
Ms Stone blamed the public uproar here on media sensationalism, saying the media has quoted her out of context. But the context she referred to will hardly prompt people to interpret her words differently.
She said she was saddened that a "poorly edited" 10-second video clip has besmirched her reputation of 20 years of charitable services. But no one put those mean words into her mouth.
Ms Stone insisted in her latest statement that those words "were never meant to be hurtful to anyone". But they did hurt. They hurt every victim and everyone saddened by the tragedy.
It is even more difficult to understand her previous statement that her intention "is to be of service to the Chinese people". We do not think the people in anguish want to be served that way.
So if Ms Stone truly cares about her reputation, she should try to be nice herself.
Ms Stone said she does not like the way the Tibetans are being treated. We wonder where and how she got that impression. Was it from the Dalai Lama?
If so, and if she is really concerned about the Tibetan people, next time she sees the Dalai Lama, we hope she would bother to ask the latter what life was like for the ordinary Tibetans during his reign.
By the way, for Ms Stone's information, the Dalai Lama is not a good source of information about present-day Tibet. He has been out for too long, almost half a century.
Or if she has no interest in finding out the truth, we advise Ms Stone to shut up for the sake of her own credibility and avoid making silly mistakes.
(China Daily 06/03/2008 page8)