Court orders online celebrity to pay damages for defaming revolutionary hero

Source:Global Times Published: 2016/10/19 23:53:40

A relative of the war hero Qiu Shaoyun won a defamation case against a Hong Kong-based herbal drink maker and a Weibo celebrity Monday for damaging the hero's image, with the Supreme People's Court (SPC) ordering them to apologize and pay one yuan ($0.14) in compensation. 

Online celebrity Sun Jie, known as "Zuoyeben" on Sina Weibo, insulted Qiu and infringed on his rights for comparing him to "roast meat" and his remarks, which were widely spread on social media, hurt the public's and Qiu's family's feelings and caused serious social impact, the SPC said on its official Sina Weibo account on Wednesday.

The SPC sentenced Sun and the Jiaduobao JDB Group - who used Sun's remarks in its promotional activities - to publish an apology within five days and to each give Qiu's family half a yuan.

The trial was broadcast live on the SPC's Weibo on Monday. The SPC said in a press release that the verdict safeguards the legal rights of the hero and serves as a warning to those who want to earn money by defaming war heroes. Sun and Jiaduobao have chosen not to appeal the decision.

Sun's Sina Weibo could not be accessed on Wednesday and JDB could not be reached for comment as of press time.

The Chinese government has lauded Qiu Shaoyun, who died at the age of 26 in 1952 in the Korean War (1950-53), as a war hero after he chose to stay motionless and silently burn to death in a fire rather than moving and betraying the position of hundreds of fellow Chinese soldiers.

Sun mocked Qiu Shaoyun by describing him as "roast meat" to his more than 6 million Weibo followers, quipping that "consumers refused to pay as it was only half roasted" on May 22, 2013.

Sun's post received a backlash from netizens and he deleted it the following day. However, the issue has not died down but triggered more heated discussions after JDB referred to the controversy in a marketing campaign that featured a series of humorous comebacks to famous quotations.

Although JDB posted an apology online on April 17, the company claimed it did not know about the controversial original post. Qiu's family did not accept JDB's apology, saying it was not sincere. Qiu's brother filed a case against Sun and the company over their vulgar marketing strategy and insults toward Qiu.

Posted in: SOCIETY

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