Even though her creator still told people to "give her some time to grow", Gardenia was still attacked, and finally he disowned her. And she disappeared forever...
Do you really think she deserved all that hate? I mean, her first performance was a bit lackluster... And her design? Sure, she looked an awful lot like Miku, but isn't that what almost every Fanloid or UTAU looked like in the beginning? (Gardenia became an UTAU later on...)
I don't really have an opinion on Zhizi. She's a good UTAU with a nice following. Many early UTAU take on elements of Crypton VOCALOIDs. It's nothing new. Unless serious plagiarism was committed, I don't think any of it was a big deal.
Fans can be very irrational over things. If they were harassing the owner, then that's really not okay, but irrationality is not new either. Don't forget that YANHE received a lot of hate in the beginning... of course it didn't help that the company could not explain the reason, but fans still do very drastic things sometimes.
We can only do so much to talk it out with others, but what happens happens.
Yeah, TBH I don't know /that/ much about Zhizi. I've only listened to her vocals when adding covers in derivatives. Majority of the covers listed on the pages are usually going to her for UTAU or Lian Hua for Sharpkey/DeepVocal. So for what it seems, people seem to like using her UTAU at least... or else I would never see her.
Otherwise, I don't know much of her background and I don't dig deep into it. XP