China / Society

Science writer prepares suit against ex-TV host

By CAO YIN (China Daily) Updated: 2014-01-15 01:08

A popular science writer has prepared a lawsuit against a former talk-show anchor, claiming his reputation was damaged during online debates.

Fang Zhouzi, a writer who popularizes science online, has claimed that former CCTV host Cui Yongyuan libeled him on the Internet during a heated discussion about genetically modified food.

Fang wants Cui to delete his postings and apologize. He is also asking for 300,000 yuan ($49,700) in compensation.

The argument between the two dates back to September when Cui, who went to the United States last year to investigate public opinion about genetically modified food, posted on a micro blog his doubt about the safety of GM food.

As a biochemist and vocal supporter of GM food, Fang refuted Cui, saying, "You can of course refuse to eat such food, but you cannot spread such rumors to block Chinese agricultural technological development".

Fang told China Daily on Tuesday that he understands people have different thoughts on controversial issues, but he could not accept people using the debates to defame him.

"When people doubt me, I always show my opinions and explain them. Cui was not an exception. But he often changed topics to attack me, even using ugly words, when I replied to him," he said.

"I can accept netizens disagreeing with my ideas and criticizing me, but some of them cross the line, for example, insulting my wife and making up stories that I committed crimes," he said.

The debate between the celebrities turned white-hot after Cui, who now works for Communication University of China, forwarded a message saying Fang obtained $670,000 by fraud and used it to buy a luxury house in the US.

"The fake message and Cui's comment with the word ‘fraud' enraged me and was the direct reason I decided to sue," he added.

Fang's lawyer, Peng Jian, has collected at least 17 postings by Cui, that he claims libel and insult his client.

"Cui replied to Fang with some derogatory words, such as cheater and gangster, which is obviously an insult, while his forwarding of the information without facts and evidence is also slander," Peng said, adding that the actions have damaged Fang's reputation.

However, Cui posted online that the probability of Fang winning a lawsuit is zero.

China Daily could not reach Cui directly.


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