War hero’s family demand apology

By Cao Siqi Source:Global Times Published: 2015-5-22 0:43:01

A lawyer representing family members of the war hero Qiu Shaoyun sent a letter Wednesday to a Hong Kong-based herbal drink maker and a Weibo celebrity, demanding an apology for two microblog posts that mocked his memory.

The Beijing-based Yingke Law Firm said in a statement on Thursday that on behalf of Qiu Shaohua, Qiu Shaoyun's brother, they have sent a letter to Jiaduobao JDB Group and online celebrity Sun Jie, known as "Zuoyeben" on Sina Weibo, demanding they apologize.

"If they refuse to apologize, we may file a lawsuit after discussing the matter with Qiu's family members," lawyer Hu Zhongyi told the Global Times Thursday. The government has lauded Qiu Shaoyun, who died at the young age of 26 in 1952 in the Korean War (1950-53), as a war hero who chose to stay motionless and burn to death in a fire rather than move and betray the position of hundreds of fellow Chinese soldiers.

Sun, skeptical of what he considers to be government propaganda, tried to deflate the official story around Qiu by mocking him as "roast meat" to his more than 6 million Sina Weibo followers, quipping that "consumers refused to pay for as it was only half roasted" in 2013.

The remark raised a stir at the time. Recently, the JDB Group referenced the controversy in a marketing campaign that featured a series of humorous comebacks to famous quotations. The company said on its official Sina Weibo account on April 16: "Thanks @Zuoyeben and hope you enjoy popularity with your barbecue. If you open a barbecue store, we will give you 100,000 units of herbal tea." This attempt at humor triggered a public outcry, leading Qiu's family to send the letter. "What JDB Group and Sun did violated social morals, and defamed the image of war heroes. Their vulgar marketing strategy triggered public anger and harmed Qiu's family members again," said the lawyer's statement. JDB posted an apology online on April 17, making the implausible claim that the company did not know about the post released by Zuoyeben in 2013. Qiu's family did not accept JDB's apology, saying it was not sincere. Sun apologized on his Weibo on April 25, saying his initial remark was "a prank joke and that was inappropriate and wrong."

Posted in: Society

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