TAIPEI - More than nine months after his detention in China for marijuana use, Taiwanese actor Kai Ko returned to the mainland last Friday to take part in a run and rebuild a healthy, sunny image.
After Chinese ultramarathon champion Chen Penbin invited him to join him for a run, Ko flew to Linyi, Shandong province, and ran 10km with Chen, said Apple Daily.
It was Ko's first public appearance in China after his arrest and detention in August last year. Although he has been banned from show business in China, there was live coverage of the run last Friday by Chinese streaming service letv, said the newspaper. The event was also covered by Zhejiang TV and CCTV, said the report.
It was not Ko's first trip to China since August, however. Just last month, he was in Shanghai for the opening of his father's clothing store.
Chen has been on a quest to do 100 marathons in 100 days since April, as a symbol of his support for China's application to host the 2022 Winter Olympics. He has been running with different guests in different areas of the country. Friday was his 65th day on the quest and Ko was his guest runner in Linyi.
Ko likes basketball, boxing and other sports, but is no runner, said Apple Daily. He said he had never run more than 2km in his life before last Friday, but was prepared to "run till I fall".
In Linyi, he did not fall, but managed to run with a smile, said the newspaper.
He said: "Because there was a live camera filming, I had to persevere."
He completed 10km in an hour and accepted a commemorative medal from Chen.
Ko's agency said he had no jobs in China coming up, but would make a comeback movie, a romance, in Taiwan in October.
He has been slowly returning to work after his marijuana episode. In January, he modelled at a fashion show.