China / Society

Network companies fined for allowing rumors to spread

By CAO YIN ( Updated: 2014-03-31 16:40

Two network companies were ordered to publicly apologize to a woman for damaging her reputation by spreading rumors online, according to a verdict issued by a Beijing court on Monday.

The companies were also ordered to pay 45,000 yuan ($7,240) in compensation to the woman surnamed Zhang, said the verdict announced by the Beijing No 3 Intermediate People’s Court.

The case dates back to early 2013, when Zhang, an official of China Petrochemical Corp, also known as Sinopec Group, when rumors spread that Zhang received sex service paid by a construction team that finally won a bid from the group.

The rumor was created by Fu Xuesheng, who confessed that he faked the information after his company failed to win the bid. Shanghai police detained Fu in August.

The two Web companies carried the information via online forums and allowed the news to be forwarded more than 110,000 times within three days.

Zhang sued the two companies, and, filing the suit with Beijing Chaoyang District People's Court, claiming they had damaged her reputation.

The district court required the companies to apologize to Zhang and provide her with compensation, but the companies appealed to the intermediate people's court.

After further investigation and trial, the intermediate court said the two Web companies' moves had affected Zhang's daily life and negatively affected her reputation, adding it decided to uphold the original verdict.

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