Blogger refutes defamation claims from founder over sex scandal

By Xu Keyue Source:Global Times Published: 2019/7/22 3:13:41

A well-known Chinese blogger has denied his multiple posts supposedly aimed at founder and CEO Richard Liu Qiangdong’s sex scandal were libelous or insulting.

Liu filed a defamation lawsuit against Zhao Shengye, a blogger who was revealed on Sina Weibo and Toutiao to be the president of an IT company. The posts were written after Liu was released by US authorities without criminal sexual misconduct charges being filed, according to a civil complaint Zhao posted on his Weibo account. 

The defendant's blog posts ignited public abuse targeted at Liu and caused economic losses and personal spiritual damage while affecting his family's normal life and work, the lawsuit said.

Liu's claims include asking Zhao to remove the "infringing posts" about him from Weibo, apologize, and provide 3 million yuan ($436,000) in compensation.

Zhao told the Global Times on Sunday that he received the defamation claim in May.  

"It's unintelligible," said Zhao, who denied the accusations.

"What Liu did in Minnesota, (alleged sexual misconduct) was disgraceful and should be criticized and punished…most of my Weibo posts about Liu represented my true sentiments on the incident, and many were also paraphrased from netizen comments," Zhao explained.

Zhao said he wondered if he could enjoy the freedom of speech after receiving the court papers.

In an attempt to avoid the lawsuit, Zhao said he sent a letter to Liu's lawyer Chen Xi expressing respect to his client and explained why he posted such comments. However, Chen refused to send the letter to Liu.

"I agreed to delete the posts but not apologize," Zhao said, as he believes a fair judgment ruling will be handled by the judicial system.

Court proceedings will be broadcast live and streamed online. 

Zhao said a court date has yet to be determined.   


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